Yesterday I had the honour of presiding over a funeral for a dear man, the father of one our church members. I had the opportunity to get to know Tom several years ago when I helped out at the church he attended.
As I gathered with the family to plan the service they reminded me of Tom’s love of baseball. It was something Tom and I shared.
If you’ve been in church at a significant time during the Jay’s season, you were likely to hear about it at some point during the Sunday morning service. I do love my Jays!
So as I began to think about what I might say at the funeral, I couldn’t shake the baseball theme. The more I thought about it the more I began to think about baseball as something of a metaphor for life.
So work with me on this one. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, hopefully this makes sense! Two things are true:
- The object in baseball is to go home.
- For the Christian, our goal is to go home, home to heaven.
In baseball, the opposing team tries everything it can to keep you from going home. The pitcher throws pitches that he hopes you can’t hit—fastballs, curve-balls, sliders, and sinkers.
Not only that but the opposing team positions its players all around the field in an effort to keep you from getting a hit and getting on base.
Life is like that, isn’t it? Curve ball here, fastball there, temptations all around — all throwing us off our game and causing us to strike out again and again and again.
So let’s say God is our team manager. He sends in for us the best pinch-hitter of all time. He sends in Jesus.
Throughout His entire earthly career, Jesus batted a thousand! He fielded every ball perfectly. He comes into the game of life as our substitute, playing in our place, and we get all the benefits of his perfect play.
Remember, the object of baseball is to go home.
In the baseball game of life, all the people of the world—including you and me—were on base but we couldn’t get home; we were stranded on base. But then Jesus stepped up to the plate. He swung at the first pitch and he hit it solidly and powerfully, way over the centre field wall. Just imagine! In the words of retired Blue Jay announcer Jerry Howarth:
“Yes sir, there she goes!” Jesus hit a grand slam … for us! All the people in the world can go home to heaven.
In the Gospel of John 1:1-4:, Jesus says:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Our home in heaven is all prepared and ready for us, because our Saviour Jesus has promised that it is.
Through His perfect life, innocent death, and glorious resurrection, Jesus paid for our sins and guaranteed our resurrection to everlasting life in heaven. Because of Jesus, the home-plate umpire, God himself, has declared us “safe”, that is, “not guilty”.
Yesterday, because of the deep faith of this dear man, Tom, I could say with confidence to the congregation gathered that our friend was safe. Safe at home in heaven.
Sure my metaphor may be a bit of a stretch, but ask yourself this: where will you be? When the minister comforts your family, can he or she say with confidence that you are safe at home in heaven? My prayer for you and for me is that the answer is YES!
I look forward to worshipping with you on Sunday!