I love the Bible’s honesty. It holds nothing back when talking about God or humans. God is holy and perfect. Humans are sinful to the core and in need of God’s love, grace, mercy, and encouragement.
It also is very honest about life as it is for humans, both the good and bad, the fair and unfair.
Proverbs 19:6 is one example: “Many will seek the favor of a generous man, and every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.”
In essence, lots of people like to hang around whoever they think they’ll get something from. Whoever is generous (and as often is the case: wealthy) and gives people things…well, he has the most supposed friends.
That’s just the way it is. Giving people stuff makes friends.
It seems that this can be merely a cynical representation of life as we know it. As long as you have money and toss it around a little, you’ll have lots of friends. And those who don’t have money to toss around…I guess you’ll wind up a loner.
But, what if there’s a way, as a player, coach, or parent, to be generous in the things that people really need, to give them gifts they might not get anywhere else?
Here are four gifts you can give to anyone at any time, just because you know Jesus.
- Love. The unconditional kind that doesn’t expect anything in return. The kind that keeps on, even when nothing is given in return. The kind that sees beyond a player’s, coach’s, or parent’s behavior and into his or her heart. The kind that is action-oriented. The kind you would want for yourself. The kind God showed through Jesus on the cross.
- Grace. What’s that? It’s giving someone what they don’t deserve. I know that player, coach, or parent, doesn’t deserve any more of your time, kindness, patience, or understanding. Grace speaks a different word. Grace is God looking at you and me, sinful as we are, and giving his very life to save us.
- Mercy. Not sure about this one? It’s not giving someone what they do deserve. Look around at what the coaches, players, and parents associated with your organization really deserve. They’ve talked about you behind your back. They’ve failed to acknowledge how much the commitment you’ve made has cost you. They don’t care about anyone but themselves. They deserve your disgust and brutal honesty. Then, look at what you deserve from God: nothing but his wrath because of your sin. Look at what, in Jesus, he took: what you deserve. Live accordingly.
- Encouragement. The more players, coaches, and parents I’m around at all levels of amateur baseball, the more I’m convinced that most folks just need someone to encourage them. Let’s face it, we don’t really have much of an idea what most players, coaches, and parents are really dealing with we aren’t around them. For so many, their worlds are filled with criticism, discouragement, isolation, and a variety of other negative influences. What if from you they received the gift of genuine encouragement, not as someone who plays a role in the organization, but simply as a person?
Lord Jesus, thank you for your love, grace, mercy, and encouragement. Remind me daily to live my life in light of those gifts and to extend them to others. Amen.