Week one is complete!
Seven days ago I left my family, friends, and girlfriend in Huntsville, Alabama to embark in a new adventure with a career in professional baseball. I am currently in Surprise, Arizona playing in the Arizona Rookie League. Tonight we have our first game and I begin my Minor League career. I have had a little shoulder soreness, so I am going to take the week off from throwing, but I will still be able to get some at bats. To summarize the general path to the majors it goes like this: Rookie Ball, Low A, High A, Double A, Triple A, MLB.
This last week has been a definite culture change…
I went from a locker room filled with Americans to a locker room filled with Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Australians, and Venezuelans.
I went from a locker room that speaks English to a locker room that speaks Spanish.
I went from a locker room that has a spiritual boldness to a locker room that majority does not claim Christ.
With all the change, each day I have found myself trying to adapt and learn new ways for me to connect with my teammates. I have a few buddies that have been teaching me Spanish everyday, so we will see how that goes.
Throughout this last week, I have found a variety of people in many different stages of their lives; from 17 year olds walking in, eyes wide open, not knowing what to expect to 30 year olds rehabbing, persevering through injuries trying to make their dream a reality. With all of these walks of life, I have also found people at different spiritual levels. Some claim Christ if I were to ask them, but do not live out the actions God has called us to because it is not “the norm.” Some say there is no God and have nothing to do with Christianity. Quite frankly, both are okay. People are on their own journey with God and I will never win over someone’s heart, but I pray that I can be a guide and asset to help them find the true pleasure of living for Christ.
I was working with a friend back at home go through Matthew and I got to the ‘Parable of the Sower’ and thought, “This is relatable to everyone.” Each day, whether you like it or not, you get to make the decision on how you want to plant your seed. For athletes, it is all about keeping your body in the best possible shape. How we prepare is a direct resemblance to how we perform. If you don’t rise to the occasion, you will always sink to the level of preparation. If your body lacks attention, your success will ultimately fail because of injuries and weaknesses.
The ‘Parable of the Sower’ is a great description of the different stages of our maturing Christian faith. Jesus spoke in parables, which are stories with hidden meanings. This parable is describing a farmer planting seeds in his field next to town. Watch closely at how God uses this farmer’s four types of soils to show us the four stages of our spiritual growth.
The farmer first throws seeds on a well-beaten path where the soil is too hard for the seeds to take root. This represents people that have heard the word of God, but reject it. The true heart surrender never takes place and they are left with no impact. Often times, this describes people who have had a bad church experience, may feel as if they are too dirty, or people that are consumed with themselves and their successes. These individuals will lack fruit and purpose in life.
The next patch of soil the farmer sees is rocky soil. This ground has soil, but the stony ground hinders deep root growth. These seeds sprout quickly but wither and die from the heat. This is relatable to someone who hears the word of God and accepts it, but during times of hardship or persecution, have no roots to hold it down. The root is the foundational word you get from reading The Bible.
The third patch the farmer ran across is the thorny bushes. I think this is the most popular type of soil in Christianity. The farmer plants the seed in good soil, takes care of it, and it begins to sprout. When the seed begins to form into a plant, the thorns choke the plant to death. I know I can be this type of soil; I am grounded in faith, having the knowledge of how to handle situations, but let the world get the best of me. I think we can all admit that we often let the riches of this world choke our love for God out. We begin to idolize and put our attention in places that are a temporary investment, when we should be investing in the Kingdom of Heaven God has given us.
The last soil is the good soil. The farmer plants the seeds in natural soil and the seed matures, grows, and prospers into good fruit. This is what we should strive for daily. This is someone who has heard the Word, matured, and produced a crop that is living daily for Christ. Each day, you have a new opportunity to plant your seed, but which soil will you choose?
Now that you have read this, you have a “bag of seed” in your hand, whether you like it or not. You have been presented the opportunity to bear good fruit. The question to ask yourself is, what quality of “soil” is your life? Has it been packed down by the journey of life? Is it full of stones? Can Satan easily snatch the valuable and precious truth of God from your life?
Each day is a new day, whether you are the first soil or the last soil, you wake up each day with a chance to be a soil that bears good fruit.
God bless and Go Royals!