Well, last night I went to the local baseball/softball park to watch a baseball game. I was invited by a child in my Children's Ministry. He had given me a schedule but this was my LAST chance to see him play. So I headed to the ball park- found the right field because I could hear his dad (who is the coach and also works at the church with me). So I joined his mom and sister in the stands. As it turns out he is playing against a team that has 3 kids from church on their team. I knew quite of the players or families from them attending different church ministries or events (AWANA, VBS, X-PLAY, etc.).
I ended up seeing LOTS of kids, parents, grandparents, etc. from my church. It was a fun night. The game went long - it was a tournament game. The child who invited me did not end up the winner. It was a great game and was really decided in the last inning- isn't that the way it should be? It was a fun night.
I grew up playing fastpitch softball and played ALL summer. Most of my summer memories involve softball, softball families or friendships. It is part of what shaped who I am today. Last night I walked away very thankful. I am thankful for many things but was reminded last night that my parents gave me a gift. You see they knew that sports were an important part of my life- they went to many lengths for me to participate and sacrificed much for this participation. However, they knew it wasn't the most important thing that needed to be a part of my life. Jesus and my church commitment was always number one. If we traveled on Sunday and could not attend church- we had church and invited the rest of the team.
I realized last night (as I also did growing up) that not every parent realizes this- baseball or softball in the summer is number one. If there is going to be something that is missed- it will not be softball or baseball - it will be church. You know church the place where they learn more about the truths in God's word, where they learn the stories Jesus gave us to know how to live this life and they worship Him with others. Yes, I do realize that you can learn about Jesus anywhere but I do wonder what our not missing the ballgame for any reason and missing church for any reason says to a child? You tell me............
On a lighter note- the ballgame did bring back many memories and I did drive away with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye- I miss those ballpark friends and families from the past!