While the Red Sox fought for the bottom of the division, Big Papa entered the baseball Hall of Fame. On a beastly hot day, thousands travelled to Cooperstown to see one of theirs, a son of the Dominican Republic and a Red Sox lifer make it to the top of his profession. I cheered from home.
David Ortiz, aka Big Papi, connects with people. His kind and all kinds of folks, including “the enemy”, like the NYYankees. I like that about him. He also thanked God for the gifts given to him. It’s interesting, that sport seems to be one of the places where folks thank God, without getting laughed out of the room or off the field.
Having written the above, you may think I’m all for swirling together Church and State. Bring on prayer before classes in public schools and applaud public school football coaches who get their team to kneel with them and pray. While there are far worse things for a coach to do, I am skeptical of what can smack of religiosity. But add, only God knows the heart. Yet, I can’t help but wonder, have we made some rights more equal than others?
So what’s the point of these ramblings? Well, Sunday reminded me to look again at God’s Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 versus the Hall of Fame. The contrast is stunning. The Bible lists some names but most remain unnamed. No bronze plaques for them. Just one stat matters: Faithfulness.
And, in a culture that values appearance and winning, faithfulness, like kindness, looks more like losing. Faithfulness commits to do what is best when no one’s looking or when consequences could kill more than a career. Faithfulness is in for the long haul, focuses on the end goal. Finishing.
Both Halls remind me of a story I heard about a retired missionary, returning to the USA after many years in a little known place, caring for people God loved but most didn’t know existed. The ship weighed anchor in New York harbor as bands played, crowds cheered, WELCOME HOME signs fluttered like confetti in the wind. First Class and elite passengers disembarked first, then on down the line. By the time the missionary came up from steerage class, little remained of crowds or confetti. No signs welcomed him. Making his way slowly down the gangplank, he felt forgotten, alone, until he sensed God whisper, “You’re not home, yet.”
Schmaltzy? To some, perhaps. But true. We’re not home…yet. So we keep running, cheering on each other. Enduring the unedurable for no earthly reason or treasure. Our prize? Hearing, “Well done, good and faithful one.”
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