For those of us who love the game of Baseball there is nothing more exciting than the World Series. Everyone has their favorite team, but at this time of the year we simply put that aside and watch the two best teams in baseball come together for this seven game series to determine who has the best team in baseball. What always fascinates me about this "Fall Classic" are the individuals that will arise to the challenge of playing to their full potential in order to propel their time to the final victory.
As much as I love the game, I have a greater love for the Lord Jesus Christ. And I always look for the story within the story when it comes to baseball and its players. One such story that caught my attention is that of Albert Pujols of the ST. Louis Cardinals. He has been touted as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. At the age of 30 years old he has already more accomplishments as a baseball player than most could hope for. Yet in a book about his life, "Pujols: More Than A Game" we get a glimpse into the man and his faith in Jesus Christ. I enjoyed reading that Albert Pujols asks opposing runners at first base, “If you died today, where do you think you’re going to go?” Lamb and Ellsworth the books authors, lucidly describe both the season-by-season baseball exploits of Pujols, but also the impact he’s having on some lives for eternity."
Really! That's what is important, if you died today, where do you think you are going? Here is a professional baseball player, who in the midst of the game has the spiritual awareness to ask that question in the midst of the game. We can be busy playing the game of life, but when it comes to the question of eternity it is no game. Our relationship with Christ will be the game changer, to know Him and to have put our personal faith and trust in Him will answer the question, "If you died today, where do you think you will be going?"
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Ro 10:8 -13).
In Acts chapter nine we see Saul going through a continued transformation in the Holy Spirit. After his conversion on the road to Damascus, after receiving the Holy Spirit, Saul ministers to those that were in Damascus. I like what happens in Acts 9:20, "Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God." There was no hesitation on the part of Saul when it came to serving Christ. There was no seminary, bible college, just a willingness to bear testimony of what he knew to be true in his own personal relationship with Christ. Yes, there was resistance to his message, there was even those who would plot to put him to death. Yet there was such a strong compulsion for sharing Christ tat he would not be distracted from his mission.The result of that persistence was two-fold. It was of a personal benefit for Saul in that he could see the immediate results of his life being transformed by Christ, and seeing it replicated in the lives of others. Secondly there was the perpetuation of the gospel as Saul, under the threat of death would go from Damascus, to Jerusalem, to Caesarea and then to Tarsus. The result of Saul's persistence was two fold, "...comfort in the Holy Spirit" and "...they were multiplied." Pray that the Lord would give you persistence in the faith.
“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26
As I read this passage this morning, it was that sobering reminder that all that I may accomplish in this life will simply pail in comparison to what I have gained through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In the world I may gain personal and public acclaim, I may attain to worldly wealth, I could have all the awards and accolades men could bestow on me, but if I don't have Christ I have lost the one thing that really matters in the end. The hope of an eternity with the living and reigning Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord. To know that I have pleased Him by my life of service and surrender is the one accomplishment that the world can never afford us. Tje Apostle Paul had a true grasp on this simple truth, (Php 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.) You see, for Paul to get ahead in this life was not about what the world had to offer, but rather what he had received and been promised as the result of willing relationship with the Son of God.
(Php 3:7-8 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.