As our nation prepares to celebrate our Independence Day, baseball stadiums are empty, our “national pastime” a victim of the pandemic. But the game is starting up again for an abbreviated season, with workouts scheduled to begin today.
And when (or if) games are played, they will be without fans in the stands.
Enter Chip Messenger, a forty-five-year-old financial planner who is about to become the most popular baseball fan in Southern California. He leases a private condominium in the Legend, a luxury building in downtown San Diego. His private balcony on the fifteenth floor provides a clear view into Petco Park, the home of the Padres.
As a result, he is one of the few people in America who will actually be able to see live Major League Baseball this year in person rather than on television. He plans to share his good fortune, saying that he’ll open his balcony to other Padres fans (with appropriate health-related precautions).
“I’m holding the winning hand right here,” Mr. Messenger said. “I’m sure I’ll make some new friends.”
The necessity of firsthand experience
I first began attending baseball games as a young boy in Houston. My dad bought tickets for my brother and me to attend games in the Houston Astrodome. They were in the upper section of the upper section. The players looked like ants running around on a green carpet. But there is nothing like being at a ball game in person.
Chip Messenger’s balcony serves as a parable, illustrating the fact that firsthand experience is essential to understanding relational truth.
I can do my best to explain what it is like to be married or to be a father, but so much of the joy of both cannot be communicated in words. The same is true with our Father: he wants an intimate, personal, daily relationship with us.
Paul told the Corinthians, “I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it” (1 Corinthians 3:1–2). Milk is digested food. The time should come when the baby matures to the level that they can eat for themselves.
Unfortunately, many Christians settle for spiritual milk—truth “digested” by others. They listen to sermons and podcasts, watch videos, and read books and articles like this one, but they do not go on to spend time with the Lord in personal Bible study and worship. Practicing spiritual disciplines such as prayer, solitude, meditation, fasting, and worship is essential to our souls. Watching the “game” on television is not the same thing.
Let me urge you over the holiday weekend to make time to be alone with your Father. Read his word and be in his world. Take a walk in creation and find ways to glorify the Creator. Use your freedom to celebrate your freedom in Christ.
Think of it: the Lord of the entire universe wants to make time for you. Let’s return the favor.