Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:7-11)
Jesus, Little League And Sunday Morning
Two thousand years ago, the Son of God came to earth giving His life to save all men. He left His Father fulfilling an eternal plan of redeeming man from the sting of sin, teaching the world the meaning of sacrifice and love on a cross. No greater love has been given to the world than the example of the loving Shepherd who gave His life so that all men could enjoy an abundant life. Before His death, Jesus gave the world a memorial to honor the Father and the sacrifice of His own love to die for the sins of the world. The first day of the week would become a time to show honor to the Lord God Almighty, Creator of the world and Sustainer of all things. Of the seven days making up a week, one day was to be set aside so that man could remember the love of Jesus Christ. One-seventh of a week was all the Lord was asking. The early disciples took the time to assemble and worship God on the first day of the week. There was a time in America when the spirit of truth and righteousness would honor Sunday as a day of worship. Many stores would not open on Sunday and activities were curtailed allowing people to spend time in worship. The United States was a country that was characterized by folks going to church on Sunday. There was a reverence. Those days are gone.
The fading spirit of America has turned away from God where Sunday’s are now filled with the pursuits of recreation and frolic. As I was driving up to a church building where I was beginning a gospel meeting, hundreds of cars filled the parking lots of an adjoining sports complex where soccer and little league baseball was going full swing. Before 9:00am Sunday morning, the complex was filled with teams in bright uniforms, coaches and parents cheering their teams on to victory. A soccer game was on the other side of the baseball fields where more players and onlookers were shouting for their teams. It was a grand scene to see all these people filled with excitement, youthful energy and spectators reveling in the game – with the sad reality that all of this was taking place on Sunday morning. As I preached that morning, I could see out the far windows of the building the games continued unabated. It was a startling contrast. A few hundred people gathered in a place worshiping the Lord, singing praises to the King and rejoicing in hearts that were restored to the grace of God; and all the while hundreds more people across the street having no care or regard for things holy. Our voices were lifted in song while they cheered on their teams. We communed in remembering the sacrifice of God’s Son while the folks across the street sacrificed incense to the god of pleasure. During the invitation hymn, two souls were restored to the love of God as crowds of people on a diamond playing field rejoiced for a run scored. Tears of joy filled a building because salvation was found. In a sports complex, Satan scored a home-run.
Jesus came as the Good Shepherd and died for everyone in that church building and all of those people gathered in the sports complex. The difference was that only a small portion of those gathered in that city knew the real meaning of life. Jesus came to give an abundant life. What He gives is a hope that lives beyond the fading sounds of games played and pleasures experienced on a ball field. Trophies will be given to the victorious teams but they will fade and be dismissed one day as trash. The rewards gained on the ball field will disappear. What is more tragic are the young people that are growing up learning that God is not relevant. They learn the abundant life is found in the pleasures of life, the pride of earthly victory and the enjoyments of the eye. Did anyone on the ball field notice there was a church on the other side of the street where people gathered for worship?
On one side of the street, the Shepherd cared for His sheep. On the other side of the street is the thief who comes into the lives of men and steals their hearts. Those who follow the Good Shepherd will find eternal life. Satan has taken the hearts of the people in a casual manner cajoling them to believe they are doing great things for their children by involving them in sports – on Sunday.