Saturday, August 21, 2010

Imagine Compassion

I truly love it when Christ shows His love for us in the most peculiar of ways. I was at work the other day going about my routine when a lady came up to me and asked if I liked baseball. (If only she knew with whom she was speaking)

My answer to her was simply, “Ma’am, I love baseball!”

She reached into her purse and said, “I would like to bless you with two tickets (great seats) to the Rangers vs. Orioles game along with a parking pass.”

(Tunnel entering Camden Yards)
Earlier in the week I had hoped to go to this game because of one player – Josh Hamilton. Josh is simply one of those players who makes playing baseball look easy. You may remember Josh from the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium in 2008, where he put on quite a show. But there’s another story concerning him I have kept up with also. Simply Google his name and you can read all about it.

Josh was drafted number one overall by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 1999 MLB draft. Josh had a two-year plan to rise quickly through the minor leagues and reach the majors. Without question, he had the ability to do so. But injuries showed up, and with them came a downward spiral that nearly cost Josh everything.

(Josh Hamilton...aka 'the Natural')
Getting to watch his amazing talent last night was incredible.  As he laughed and joked with teammates as well as some people in the crowd, I could not help but see a product of compassion. Family, friends, Major League Baseball, teammates, the public…each of them played a part in his comeback, giving support and care. 
When you hear Josh speak, he is grateful to all of them…..but there is one that extended an arm of love further than any human being ever could.

So many people are quick to write others off when they fall into sin.
So how come God doesn’t?
What is it about Christ that looks down on a guy such as Josh Hamilton and continues to give him chance after chance to get it together?

The woman at the well might have the answer in John 4. Jesus felt the need to go through Samaria and meet this lady who had struggled through five unsuccessful marriages and was now living with a man who was not her husband. As she headed to the well that day, she carried more than the weight of her water pot on her shoulders. She’s probably the last person I would have thought that Jesus would select to bring salvation to her town. But Christ usually does the opposite of what we humans think He will do. He takes the most improbable candidate usually to accomplish His purpose and plan.

Moses…barely escaping death at three months of age. Improbable that this guy would deliver his people.
David…his own father doesn’t think he is fit to be a King. But God saw a man after His own heart.
Saul of Tarsus…I doubt very seriously the church set out to convert Saul because of his great ‘potential’ for Christ.

I Samuel 16:7 sums it up: “…Man looketh on the outward but God looketh upon the heart.”

This scripture best explains God’s compassion for us. The woman at the well – Jesus saw beyond her scars, her problems, her life’s mess…..and found a heart that wanted a fresh beginning not only for her but for others.

You don’t have to be Josh Hamilton. 
Josh went from an extra-ordinary athlete with everything he desired, to the lowest levels of sin…then back to the top. God didn’t pick Josh because of his popularity or fame…He’s been doing this compassion thing for over 2,000 years.

John 3:16 – “For God SO LOVED the world that He gave…..”

John 7:37 – “….if ANY MAN thirst, let him come unto me….”

Whoever you are – whatever you’ve done…compassionate eyes are shining on you, but not down on you.
And to those who have been shown compassion…..freely given – freely give.
Imagine a world filled with Compassion. We just might have a few more Josh Hamilton’s. 

(Josh Hamilton - Left Field)

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