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Stealing First

It’s Christmas time and not spring and baseball season; so it ought to be a perfect opportunity for a baseball metaphor, right? Anyway, here goes.

You can’t steal first base.

You actually have to do something to get there. You have to hit a fair ball, get hit by a pitch, or be pitched four balls and walked. A balk by the pitcher will do. The point is that you have to do something legal and covered in the rules. Trying to trick the umpire or some such thing is only going to get you called out. Well then, can you get home or score a run without getting to first base? Can you win a game without playing by the rules?

People that try winning without playing straight have the same problem as the person that tries to be a Christian or who tries to get to heaven without following the instructions. In the parable, the man Jesus said had been given that single talent was hoping to somehow please his master without ever lifting a finger and doing what he had been told — without following the instructions. He tried to steal first base. (Maybe he was waiting for first base to be brought over to him?) Such folks might as well give up, because they won’t be successful. That man ignored the instructions and buried the talent that he had been given in the dirt and ended up doing nothing.

During a tent meeting a long time ago, three fellows were down front kneeling in the sawdust confessing their sins. The preacher asked the first man what he had done. “I’ve been a drunkard all my life and I quit”. The second man said that he had been a liar and a cheat “…and I quit.” “What about you?” the preacher asked the third man. “I’ve been doing nothing, and I quit.”

Well, what have you been doing? Have you been doing nothing all the while hoping that everything will somehow turn out okay when your master comes calling? Are you trying to get to Christ without circling the bases and playing by the rules?

Do you suppose the God of heaven and earth will reward any of us for not paying attention to Him and to His rich offer and that He will honor us ultimately for attempting to cheat or for doing nothing? Will he reward us with a run in heaven for not accomplishing his will here? And if we realize that we have been doing nothing; I wonder, what reward would fit that? The fellow that hid his master’s one talent was rewarded this way: “and cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Will anyone ever get to heaven without following the instructions, the instructions that the author gave His life to secure for all that will accept His invitation? Can we get there trying to steal first? It won’t work in baseball and the equivalent won’t work to make you either a Christian or to gain you eternal life. In fact, such things don’t work anywhere on this side of life or in eternity. You will be called out.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Batter up!