“Just Give It Up!”

7/25/18 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –

If you read my blog last week you would know that Judy and I spent a week at family camp at the Word of Life Pines with some of our children and grandchildren as well as family from our church. It was a great week; we received excellent Bible teaching, got to do some family stuff and spent time with friends.

One of the family things I got to do was play softball with my son, Jeremy. I haven’t played softball this summer because of some physical issues and on this Monday, I really had no intention of playing. Yet after Jeremy asked me if I would play, I thought why not, and I was glad I did.

There were 4 teams that played, and of those 4 teams that played, an all star team was compiled that would play against the staff team that evening under the lights. Well to my surprise after our game, I was chosen to play on the all-star team. Now to be totally candid, I think they chose me, to honor me for my age as well as the fact that there is a building on the property named after us.

Anyway, I didn’t turn down the invite and I showed up to play 1st base in the game. Being very candid again, I actually was praying before the game began, “God please don’t let me do anything that would embarrass me or my family.” God was gracious. My 1st trip to the plate I hit a triple and drove in 2 runs, and I made no errors in the field, so prayer answered!!

As I mentioned earlier, I have not been playing softball this summer, but I have been coaching our church softball team. As of this date, we have gone undefeated. This past Monday night we won a double header against the number 2 team in our league, so if we keep this up, we should be looking good going into next month’s playoffs.

When we returned home last week from camp, I was thinking that maybe I could come back and play on the church team, but then God brought these verses from the Bible to my mind… So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1

Although I would love to play, I just felt that God said, ‘Not this year.’ See, we have a number of players on our team that do not know Christ, and for me to play would affect them, as it would cut into their playing time. You probably should know that one of the purposes for our church softball team is not only winning, and fellowship, but more importantly, to live consistently as Christ lived His life before a lost world.

God created us, not to live out our own dreams and desires, but we are created for the purpose of bringing glory to God, even in the most mundane activities of life, like eating and drinking and playing softball. Often it is not in the crises of life, or the huge accomplishments of life that people take notice, but doing the mundane things in life, like playing softball.

I love playing softball, I love winning, I love having an undefeated team, I love it when our team wins our league championship and I also love to eat. But there is something that I love much more than all these things combined and that is seeing people coming to Christ. And at this point, God says no to playing softball, and I am OK with that so that “I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.”

Paul had one great goal in life, to glorify God and live a life in such a way that people would want what he had, that people would want Christ. To reach that goal, Paul was willing to do anything, he was willing to pay any price. He was even willing to give up the things that he wanted to do, for the benefit of leading others to Christ. He was willing to sacrifice temporary enjoyment and satisfaction for things that would last forever.

Paul would later write… This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7

So can I ask you? What are you giving up? What are you sacrificing “so that many may be saved?” What have you consciously given up, so that one person will view Christ in a better light. Paul said, I did it, so “you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.”

It was a man who was willing to give the ultimate gift, his own life, the martyred missionary Jim Elliot who said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Just give it up! Whatever God asks you to give up for that lost soul, that small inconvenience now will seem very insignificant throughout eternity.