Spring is in full swing, which means warmer temperatures, people putting up their winter coats, and getting out shorts and flip-flops! You also begin to see families outside walking around, playing, and hanging out. The snow is gone, the sun has come back out, and there is an excitement that comes with that!
I also love this time of the year because I am a huge baseball fan. I love throwing baseball outside, going to ball games, and watching games on TV. From the sights and sounds of a bat hitting the ball to peanuts and a coke at the ballpark to teams competing against one another, it is all exciting for the devout baseball fan. From my earliest childhood memories, I remember being on the ball field with my teammates and my Dad coaching me either from the dugout or from the stands.
Baseball, like any other athletic completion, has two major components- the preparation for the season and then the actual season of play. We see this from little league baseball players who throw with their parents, siblings, or friends in their backyard to the professional athlete who trains to be bigger, faster, and stronger than they were the year before. Once the season gets here it is all on the line. All the preparation is to compete for the prize- a championship. Both preparation for the season and the actual season of play are crucial for the baseball player, their coaches, and the team itself.
Also, in the spring comes another important time in the life of many families- graduation. High school seniors are getting their final assignments turned in, getting senior pictures taken, prepping for what is next, and in a few short weeks, will walk across a stage and graduate from high school. This is a time to celebrate the growth that has been accomplished over the last several years of their lives, academically, physically, and spiritually. Graduation season is a lot like the game of baseball. There is a season of preparation and the season that is to come. In a lot of ways, for the high school graduate and their families, what comes after graduation has been prepared for and prayed over for the last 18+ years. From the joyous moments to the hard conversations, the laughs, the tears, all this for the season that is to come.
So, what is to come? In a baseball season, there are wins and losses. There are unexpected things that come up that no one saw coming. Typically, it doesn’t go exactly how teams had planned. Life is no different. There are wins and losses and unexpected joys and hardships. The key in life is to have a personal relationship with the One who knows exactly what will happen next- Jesus Christ. Nobody on this side of eternity knows what will take place next. As believers in Jesus Christ, we know He holds the future and what Scripture has laid out for us. However, we don’t know what tomorrow holds. Jesus does.
The apostle Paul encouraged the church in Corinth with this in 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 (HCSB)…”Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air.”
So what would I tell the Christ-following high school senior? Run in such a way to win the prize. A prize that is so much more than an athletic championship. A prize with eternal value. Remember, life is not about you, it is about the glory of God. God has a beautiful plan laid out for your life, including this next season you are about to enter, so pursue Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. There will be ups and downs, unexpected joys, and hardships. In all this, Jesus is still King, and He still holds your life in the palm of His hand.