Thursday, July 16, 2015

Baseball Blues and Divine Appointments

I am not a fan of the All Star Break.

I'm not even a real fan of the All Star Game.
I did watch the game this year. I also watched some of the Home Run Derby.
But now we're faced with two more days of no baseball. Ugh!

I decided to get my baseball fix by going to the Springfield Cardinals game tonight.

I usually just get a general admission ticket and then find a seat on one of the benches that circle the field at the top of the regular seating. There are usually plenty of seats available, but I've grown accustomed to sitting on the benches and sometimes walking the concourse to check the TV monitors if the St. Louis boys are also playing.

As I was sitting down to enjoy my ballpark dinner, another fan asked me, "Who usually sits here?"
I said, "Anybody that wants to! It's general admission seating."
So he sat.

Apparently, he bought a ticket in a crowded area and he was by himself and instead of moving to another comfy seat, he chose to share a bench with me.
I know that there are many that will say it was just a coincidence, but I'm not a big fan of believing in coincidence. Perhaps believing in Divine intervention is an occupational hazard for a preacher, but none-the-less I believe that this meeting was meant to be.

I had to start a conversation with him. In the back of my mind was this thought that I have again challenged a church (and accepted the challenge myself) to find somebody that needs to hear that God loves them and Jesus died for them. I encounter so few people during the week, that this can be a real problem. With or without the challenge, a conversation with a new acquaintance will generally get around to my asking if they go to church anywhere.

Before I got to that point, I found out that he is the principal at a local elementary school but will be retiring soon. We talked about Red Ribbon week and I pitched my new magic show. I think I may have a booking for the fall.
We also talked about some of the challenges facing teachers and school administrators today. We talked about issues in middle school and high school, as well. I shared some of the experiences that I've had in schools and some of the other magic programs that I've used in public schools. Since the only business card that I had to give him is the one that I use for churches, the transition to "Do you go to church in your community?" was an easy one.

It turns out that he drives to Springfield each weekend to serve as pastor for a small local group of Christian believers!

I have to say that my attention was very divided. As much as I tried to keep up with the game, the conversation with this new found brother in Christ was pretty great!

After an eighth inning grand slam that put the Cardinals ahead and a quick scoreless top of the ninth, we parted ways. It felt right to pray with him (and for him) as we shook hands to go. He thanked me for the short prayer and said, "I'm glad I decided to sit here."

I said, "Me, too."
But inside I was thinking that he didn't really have a choice. Our meeting was orchestrated at a much higher level.

God loves you.
Jesus died for you.

Tell it to somebody.
They need to hear the Good News!

John <><


eViL pOp TaRt said...

That was a better than average bench mate for you, John! I hope this mid-season break from baseball ends soon!

Mike said...

I didn't watch the old stars game this year. Maybe next year.... or not.

Duckbutt said...

Baseball is itself a spiritual experience!