Rounding Third and Headed...?

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24 (KJV)

If you are a sports fan reading this, you are aware that the title I have chosen is a sports phrase. It refers to baseball and an announcer saying, "The player is rounding third and heading home." My question this Christmas time is, in our Christian walk, are we headed toward home?

I cannot help but look back through this past year. We all do it this time of year. It's called "reflecting." It has been another year full of challenge, yet another year full of promise, hope, and blessings. I keep wondering if I've done anything this past year to keep me heading toward home. I keep wondering if I've made a difference for God in anyone's life. Have I improved on my faithfulness to Him? Have I walked the walk that I talk? Have I reached out to others even though I've been hurting myself in so many ways? Have I been too lazy this year for God? Have I really picked up the cross and followed Him as I should? For a believer, these are not always easy questions.

I can only imagine the beginning of Jesus' life. As a baby He was born in a stable with only hay to lay on. He didn't have all the advantages and comforts that hospitals offer us during childbirth now. All He had was the straw and then the warmth of His loving Mother as she held Him.

We haven't been given a lot of knowledge about Jesus as He grew. I have to believe it wasn't easy for Him in any way. Because He was the Son of God, it made Him different. I'm sure the kids of His time were just as mean and awful in teasing Him as they can be in teasing our kids today. I'm sure the peer pressure was just as much then for Jesus as it is for our kids nowadays. Yet, Jesus stayed the course. I think it's safe to say that as Jesus grew, He maintained that He'd be rounding third and heading for home.

Those who wrote the Bible chose to give many details about the final days of Jesus. I believe it was His final days that God thought would be the most important for us to know about today. We are told that in His final hours, Jesus took time to pray not for just His disciples, but He prayed for YOU and for ME! (John 17:20) As He hung on the cross for our sins, Jesus was "still rounding third and heading home" as He forgave the thief on the cross, (Luke 23:42,43), and as He asked God to "forgive them for they know not what they do," (Luke 23:34). In His toughest of hours, in the worst conditions of His life, Jesus maintained the course and never faltered.

As I reflect, I see improvement in some ways. I also see that I have hit a lot of "foul balls" that have knocked me off the course and caused me to lose my way at times. I'm not proud of those foul balls anymore than a baseball player is proud of his when he hits them. Yet, those foul balls mean the player has another opportunity. As long as he doesn't strike out, the player has the opportunity to "round third and head for home."

I continue to do my best not to drop the ball in my Christian walk. I continue to try and do my part as a member of God's team. I am thankful I have the opportunity to hit foul balls and that the foul balls do not mean I don't have another chance. Because He loves me so much and understands that I am flesh, God has provided for me to hit as many foul balls as I must and yet still have the opportunity to "round third and head for home."

I have to ask, how'd your year go? Are you still "rounding third and heading for home?"

Happy birthday Jesus! Truly YOU are the Reason for the Season!

Dear Lord, please forgive me for those times this past year when I have dropped the ball in my game of life. And please help me to forgive myself. Grant me your help this coming year that I may find victory through You, and that next year at this time I may still be headed toward home. Amen.