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Our Current Virtual Church Message

Home Run

Renaldo Guatirez was headed for the big leagues. Ren had a power in his swing that nearly demolished the ball when contact was made. So powerful was Ren's swing, the team put a guy on the other side of the fence in the outfield just to track down the balls Ren sent over the fence. Ren was a phenomenon. From the time he was in Junior High, the big league scouts were tracking his progress. The game was all Ren's and all Ren  thought about. Playing in the big leagues consumed him from the time he was a freshmen in high school. People said he was better than Mantle, Mays, and Aaron combined. When he graduated from high school he was sent to the Twin City Marvels (a farm team) to sharpen up other aspects of his game. Contracts were waiting. Very, very big contracts were waiting for his signature. Then there was a devastating accident. He would never play baseball again. However, the Lord had other plans.

Ren: I know who you are and I know why you are here. Before you take me, I want you to tell me things. I want you to tell me why everything I put my hands on in my life turned into ashes. How could I have gotten so close to playing in the majors and missed out? I work in a homeless shelter cleaning tables and doing dishes, among other things. I do this to keep a cot open. I have been at the shelter for five years. Now I am dying and you have come to take me. Tell me now. What was the purpose and point of my life?

GUARDIAN GUIDE: Was there anything in your life you wanted to do but could not do?

Ren: Are you kidding? Nothing in my life I wanted to do ever got done. I mean nothing! Every time I turned one way, everything fell apart so I ended up going the other way.

GUARDIAN GUIDE: Do you think there was some invisible hand at work turning you away from some things?

Ren: Uh. You mean like God directing me?

GUARDIAN GUIDE: Well, more like God keeping you from walking in harmful directions against His will.

Ren: I know what you are saying. But why would God punish me my whole life? Why would God do something like that?

GUARDIAN GUIDE: It wasn't punishment.

Ren: What do you mean it wasn't punishment? Isn't failure and disappointment punishment? I have suffered. In nearly every case, my suffering was not my fault. Why would God want me to be a failure in my life?

GUARDIAN GUIDE: It wasn't the failure part God wanted.

Ren: Then what was it He wanted? I have suffered unbearable pain, humiliation, loneliness, and embarrassment.

GUARDIAN GUIDE: God did not want you to suffer pain, humiliation, loneliness, and embarrassment.

Ren: Then what did He want?

GUARDIAN GUIDE: It was the glory. It was all those moments in between.

Ren: Glory??? What glory? The moments in between? You mean the times between one failure and the next?

GUARDIAN GUIDE: Yes. The times you think of as the unimportant moments.

Ren: But I didn't do anything during the unimportant times. All I did was tread water. No success. Get it? No success. While others were building families, lives, businesses, professions, and whatever, I was treading water getting ready for the next failure. I admit I failed. I admit I made mistakes. Now tell me. What was it all about?

GUARDIAN GUIDE: God has never seen you or your life as a mistake, failure, or disappointment. God has never seen your life the way you see your life. Remember the little kid you gave a popsicle to 23 years, 8 months, 3 days, 6 hours, and 23 minutes ago?

Ren: No. I don't remember.

GUARDIAN GUIDE: God does. Remember all the times you wept for others when they were down and out?

Ren: No, not specifically.

GUARDIAN GUIDE: God remembers. How many people did you help and befriend here at the mission and in all the other missions where you lived?

Ren: I don't know.

GUARDIAN GUIDE: God knows. Look. All those life experiences add up to something you don't realize is important. Your accident and your circumstances gave you a heart only your circumstances in life could have produced in you. Although you protest now, you already know, don't you?

Ren: Yes, I know. I admit I know. It is so hard to admit I failed, yet I was able to touch other's lives. However, touching other people's lives was not what I thought I wanted. I wanted to be a success in baseball. I wanted to play in the majors. Sounds like a joke doesn't it?

GUARDIAN GUIDE: No. Remember the time you went hungry so four kids could eat? Remember when you spent your last dollar to buy a homeless guy a shoe repair kit so he could make his shoes last?

Ren: No. I don't remember any of that.

GUARDIAN GUIDE: God remembers. Remember the kid you showed how to catch a baseball?

Ren: No. I don't remember the kid.

GUARDIAN GUIDE: God does. Because of the little confidence you gave the kid, the kid went on to become an engineer who designed and built church buildings. Remember the woman 11 years ago who had lost her daughter and husband in an accident? Remember how you read her scripture and prayed with her?

Ren: No. I don't remember small things.

GUARDIAN GUIDE: God does. Listen to me. Your life has been more successful and productive for God than many other lives put together.

Ren: I never had a choice. I had to do this kind of work because I had no choice.

GUARDIAN GUIDE: Wrong. Remember the guy who wanted you to push and pimp?

Ren: Yeah. Unfortunately I do remember that.

GUARDIAN GUIDE: Well, why didn't you? You could have pushed and pimped. Made lots of cash. Why didn't you?

Ren: He would not want me to.

GUARDIAN GUIDE: Who would not want you to?

Ren: God. God would not want me to do anything other than what I have done. I just never saw any success.

GUARDIAN GUIDE: You never saw any success according to you. According to you, all you did was tread water. But look at your life. You always gave. You never consumed. You were never idle. You always pounded home runs over the fence like you might have done otherwise. Remember the kid you walked to school so other kids would not beat him up? God does. The kid ended up being a teacher and then a school principal in an inner city school. Let us just say bully's do not bully in his school. Here is the deal. Your life was never your life to live. Your life was the Lord's life He wanted you to live. Fortunately for you and for God, you did as God wanted. God had His destiny for your life. You had your destiny for your life. God's destiny was so important, God used the bad things Satan put on you for God's purposes. God needed you to be important for Him instead of your being important for yourself. In that respect, your life in God's eyes has been a total success.

Ren: OK, I see what you mean. I get selfish sometimes. How long will it take for you to cross me over?

GUARDIAN GUIDE: Blink your eyes.

Ren: OK. Uh, Wow! Is this? Is this? Is He?

GUARDIAN GUIDE: Yes, this is Home and yes, that's Him.

The Lord: Hello Ren. You did great work in your life. You were indeed a good and faithful servant. We have a ball park here. We have a league with some of the greatest of all time playing in the league. The opposing teams are not from here. The opposing teams are from the outside. Every home run for our side helps a soul get saved. We need hitters. How would like to play in the biggest league of all?

Matthew 25:21 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'"

The message appeared in August,  2010, in the Virtual Church web site at http://www.findthepower.com

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018