This week, my college roommate and long time friend, Sandy, came and visited us at our house. Sandy was also in our wedding and although we’ve been in touch, I don’t think we’ve been in the same place for quite a while. Sandy is from the Philadelphia area also and she has the same love of Philly sports that we do!
AND it was interesting sitting so near the players–two rows behind the plate…after we moved up closer!
For years Rick has faithfully watched sporting events, especially Philly sports. We’re usually at home in front of a large tv, occasionally in a packed stadium or a sports bar/restaurant. When Rick watches the games, he loves to help the managers and players by offering advice and encouragement…loudly. I then have the opportunity to remind him that the Phils or Eagles or Flyers can’t hear him. In this way he knows that he can keep his coaching skills to himself.
But last night–Ruiz was “this far” from us as Rick took his picture while he stood in the batter’s box and handled the catching duties for Oswalt. He could hear Rick encourage him, even when he struck out–we love our Phils! And Oswalt could also hear Rick also encouraging him to throw strikes since we were now only 2 rows behind the batter. Chase Utley could hear Rick tell him to not swing at bad balls and he batted one out of the park! I could have sworn that Utley turned around and looked Rick in the eye and said, “I KNOW THAT!!” Or maybe that was just in my dreams… (note from Rick: “There is a great deal of poetic license being taken here!”)
But of course, they didn’t really hear Rick. Major league players listen to their coaches, they train themselves to hear the voices that matter and ignore the rest of the fan (and anti-fan) chaos around them. Mostly likely they also listen to the voice inside of them that tells them what they already know, how to do the job they love and do it successfully. They can’t be distracted by cheers or boos or silence, they have a goal and they discipline themselves to hear the right voices, listen to them, and do what is expected of them.
In faith, I must train myself to do the same. I must hear the Voice of my Coach and learn quickly to distinguish it from the chaos of the words that fill my world. I must listen to the Holy Spirit inside me when He tells me who I am and WHOSE I am and how much I am loved. I will only be in this game, contributing to my team, as long as I listen, believe and act following the instructions of my eternal coach.
When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. John 10: 4,5