Sunday, October 28, 2018

Word Champions

Why do we experience so much joy when our team wins? I didn't play an inning. I don't personally know any of the coaches or players (although I feel as if I do). But it's joy I feel. I just watched the Boston Red Sox win the World Series. They won four games to one over the Dodgers (the one game they didn't win went 18 innings and was the longest game in MLB playoffs history—and yes, I stayed up until 3:30am to watch).

You should know that I've loved the Sox since I was a kid. But this year has been special. Yes, they won 119 games in all (third place in all time most season wins). Yes they dominated the playoffs. But it was special to me (you might think this is dumb) because I watched more baseball—Red Sox baseball—than ever in my life! That's because I broke our TV when we moved back in March. Yes, that's right. And when we bought a new TV, Roku was a free service with the TV that let me choose to have the MLB Network for FREE (I would have broken that old TV much sooner had I known!). I also had a sabbatical this summer. I'm telling you, the only TV I watched all summer was Red Sox baseball, which I could watch anytime I wanted! And did I say it was free? Not just that, but Rich Hatter and I decided to buy tickets to watch the Sox play the Braves in Atlanta way back in February before the season started! He's a huge Braves fan and we thought it would be fun. We joked about how cool it would be if they were both in first place when they played in August—a date that seemed so far away! You guessed it, they were both in first place! And you know who won the game—swept the series in fact—the Red Sox!

The season was full of fun memories: so many late inning come-from-behind wins, so many home runs, so many impossible defensive plays, so many personalities! These guys were serious yet playfully fun. They really like each other. And they were humble. Besides all the other things I love (sometimes irrationally) about baseball, this team was special. And now they are World Series champions. Wow. I can't get this goofy smile off my face!
I was right, now it's official. Red Sox are #1.

Now, why does it give me so much joy?

First, because of something Jesus said. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). As I wrote in a previous post,
To understand [this verse], let’s get the images in two key words: “treasure” and “heart.” 
The word, treasure, is the Greek word, th─ôsauros. It literally means a “place of treasure,” where one puts one's investments. 
The word, heart, is the Greek word, kardia (yes, like "cardio" and "cardiograph"). It can mean the physical blood-pumping organ, but here "heart" is the symbolic “seat of the passions, desires, affections.”  
Now: notice the tenses of the verbs “to be”: “is” (present tense), “will be” (future tense). 
So here’s what it’s saying:
Where you place your investments NOW, that’s where your affections WILL BE.
Yeah, I invested quite a bit of time and interest in the Red Sox this season. I thought about them, I talked about them, I admired them. My affections followed.

Second, because there's something in the human soul that loves winning. It bothers me a little, but it's true. I like it when my team wins. You do too.

Ok, so here's my big point. God loves when we experience joy. It is a taste of the ultimate joy we have in Christ. Now because he is the only thing that truly satisfies here. It's also known as "abundant life." Later in an incomprehensible way when Jesus returns. That's because we win. Not just the World Series. Everything. Jesus conquers all evil and wins the final battle. Good wins in the end. And those of us who love him win big. We get God in all his fullness without hindrance. We get new resurrected bodies that are free from sin. We get the riches of heaven.

That's why we are crazy not to invest ourselves fully in him. God help me learn this lesson and invest in you with all I have and everything I am.

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