Directions 3.19.2015


The count is three balls and two strikes.  The manager calls “time” and walks out to the mound.  He tells the pitcher, “Your fastball is your best pitch.  Make this next one a fastball.”  The pitcher replies, “Are you sure?  He’s seen the fastball.  Don’t you think he will know it is coming?”  The manager says, “Trust me.  I’ve seen a lot more baseball than you have.”

The manager walks off and the pitcher starts thinking:  “I should throw my changeup.  He’s seen my fastball.  What does that manager know?  He’s not seeing what I see.  He’s getting old, anyway.  I know more than he does.”

He throws the changeup.  It trots over the plate and hangs there, begging to be hit.  The batter swings and launches the ball over the infield, over the outfield, over the fence, and over the county line.  Before the batter can round the bases, the manager is on his way out to the mound, while he motions to the bullpen.

The pitcher’s head is hanging down.  The manager says, “Son, didn’t I tell you to throw a fastball?  Did you think the old man was crazy and didn’t see what you saw?  Did you think you knew better than me what to pitch?  Well, son, you’re done.”

Someone has an obedience problem.

We squirm at the idea of being told what to do.  Some of this has to do with human experience.  We’ve all been told to obey mindless rules, ridiculous policies, and unjust laws.  And that’s just in kindergarten.  When you get your first job, it takes about two weeks before you are convinced you know more than the boss.  If they would only let you be in charge, you could get the place straightened out in no time.  Disobedience always has a root of arrogance.

Our problem with obedience has a lot to do with our pride, the sin that no one confesses.  Real obedience begins with humility.  We understand we don’t know everything.  We acknowledge that we are missing perspectives we need.  We submit to the authority of someone wiser than ourselves.

Imagine Jesus walking out to you on the mound.  “Listen,” he says, “you are going to be tempted to pitch a lie right now.  But the truth is going to be better.  You know you will disappoint people when you tell them the truth, but the truth is going to build your soul.  It will bring you closer to me.  It will grow trust in this relationship.   Pitch the truth.”  Then Jesus walks back to the dugout.

Now your moment has come.  The voice in your head starts:  “Maybe a little lie wouldn’t be too bad.  Maybe Jesus, just this once, is wrong.  I think I can get away with this.  Yeah, I know what to do.”

You wind up.  You release the lie.  It explodes.  Damage is everywhere.  You feel part of your soul pulled apart.  The relationship goes into ICU.  You don’t want to meet Jesus’ eyes.  Shame washes over you.

Someone has an obedience problem.

Maybe you need the humility to listen to the wise Shepherd, Jesus.



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