The Ump

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A couple of weeks ago I attended a Little League game and it was fun until the inning where the umpire made a controversial call. I think he made a mistake, but his call stood because he is the umpire. The game would be chaos if somebody was not empowered to decide those close ones. Sure, it’s only baseball, but we recognize that the game requires someone to be charge, somebody with the authority to say – “you’re safe” or “you’re out!”

It seems to me that many of us have thrown the Umpire out of the game of Life. The result is growing chaos – factions of people insisting that their point of view is the right one, interpreting the rules to fit their personal interests. One of the sillier ideas that has emerged is that ‘we all have our own truth.’  That sounds good, but it is illogical. Black cannot be white, two and two cannot equal 5. Truth is not determined by a majority vote or by what ‘feels right.’

‘Truth’ is more easily determined in some ways that others. The law of gravity reveals the truth to anyone foolish enough to jump out of a window. Sane people do not stand around debating the merits of jumping off of cliffs, do they?  Other issues are so much more complex. The tragedy, in my opinion, is that the more complex the issue, the louder we shout about it in the streets, replacing honest dialogue with simple slogans.

Our country is sharply divided around issues like same sex marriage and abortion which are really symptoms of a far deeper division. On one side are those who believe that they are self-determinate, that there is no Umpire to whom they are accountable.  On the other are those who believe that God is Personal, with a plan and purpose for each one of us, to Whom we will give account when the game is over for us. If you’re reading this, the likelihood is that you are somewhere in that second group as I am.

This is truth – “Remember, each of us will stand personally before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say, “ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow to me and every tongue will confess allegiance to God.’ ” Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God.” (Romans 14:10-12, NLT)

In same passage, Paul urges us to learn to live compassionately, to refrain from judging others. Let’s learn that, my brothers and sisters.  For example, if you believe that the sacredness of life makes abortion an offense to God, as I do, the place to put your convictions into practice is not with a sign on the street, screaming at a woman who finds herself in crisis. Nor is it effective, wise, or winsome to put the most ‘in your face’ post on Facebook or Instagram!  Instead, we must go deeper, to actually love others in a way that demonstrates our conviction about the sacredness of life in a way that is authentic and sacrificial.  Some of us may adopt a child. All of us will extend our love of life to resist the violence of war, the abuse of power that creates victims.  We will teach our young men that women are their equal. We will esteem all as made in the image of God.

Ah yes, as a society a call will still have to be made about what’s right, how we protect all of life, but hopefully laws will be made not from fear, nor to win a political point, but nobly. And, yes, when the call is made, some will not like it but those who are ‘in Christ’ will be graceful equally– in defeat or victory.

Let’s examine ourselves, my Christian family, for consistency between our profession and our practice.  If we say Jesus is Lord, let’s let Him rule – every part of our lives.  If we are humble, if we are yielded to the Spirit’s leading, if we are “grace – full,” when our daily choices match our rhetoric, we will have the ‘salt and light’ influence of which Jesus spoke.

Here is a word from the Word, from the prophet Micah. “With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:6-8, NIV)  For “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.”  (1 Samuel 15:22)

Who’s ‘in charge’ of your life? Really, think about it.

__________

Build My Life (As you listen, give your life to Him, the Builder)

Worthy of ev’ry song we could ever sing
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You

 Jesus the name above ev’ry other name
Jesus the only one who could ever save
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You We live for You

 Holy there is no one like You
There is none besides You
Open up my eyes in wonder and show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me

 I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken

Brett Younker | Karl Martin | Kirby Elizabeth Kaple | Matt Redman | Pat Barrett © 2016 Martin, Karl Andrew (Admin. by Arkyard Music Services Limited) Kaple Music (Admin. by Bethel Music Publishing) Bethel Music Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

 

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