Monday, June 18, 2012

Pitching the 9th

I had a surprising opportunity for a Bible study with someone yesterday after church.  Four of us went to lunch together and in the course of the conversation one person said they were thinking of being baptised.  This led to a Bible study about the Gospel and our response to it.

It's easy in this situation to put pressure on myself as if I'm the closer going for the save. I have to say the right words and do the right things.  The person who set up the lunch functions as the 8th inning setup pitcher, and I come along in the 9th to lock in the victory and record the save. I'm a kind of spiritual Mariano Rivera throwing 100mph Gospel fast balls that the person I'm studying with has no answer for!!

But when I take a moment to think of how the Bible describes this process I realise there's not as much pressure on me as I sometimes place upon myself.

Just before his death Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit who would "convict the world of its sin" (Jn 16:7-9).  God convinces people they both have a sin problem and need a solution.  Later, the apostle Paul wrote that it's not important who plants seeds and who waters them.  What's important is that God makes them grow.

So we get to this place where on the one hand Christians have a responsibility to know our Bibles and be prepared to share our faith.  On the other hand, God is also at work and it's whatever He's doing in a person's life that really counts.

So I guess God's the manager.  And as important as I might like to think my role is as a closer, the manager can replace me at any point for no better reason than there's a left handed batter up next and someone else is a better match.  I've done my bit, now I have to give up the ball and trust that the manager knows what he's doing.  What's important is that the team wins, not that I get all 3 outs to end the game.

In this case, I think we're going to have a baptism soon, but the ball's out of my hand right now. :-)

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