Bowling With Christ: Pin #5 – Where Do the Bowling Balls Go?
Hoppy Belated Easter to each and everyone of you! Did you all have a great Easter? Did the Easter Bunny come visit you and leave you with some special gifts: colorful Easter eggs, jellybeans, chocolate bunnies, and toys? I don’t know if the Easter Bunny came to visit me, but whoever did certainly left my fridge and candy bowls empty…. Either way, I has a wonderful Easter spent with wonderful friends, eating great food, and reflecting on the importance of the day, Jesus being raised from the tomb. Jesus was resurrected on Easter and I know he lives “because he lives within my heart.”
So, what’s next? I think we should pick up where we split off a few weeks ago. Several weeks ago, we began talking about how going bowling teaches us a lot about God and God’s plan for us. God has a narrow way for us filled with love and this narrow way is guarded by bumpers–or the Holy Spirit–to make sure that when we slide to one side or the other we are “bumped” back to the middle. And then two weeks ago, we looked at the bowling ball; and how each bowling is different and how some bowling balls have different weights. The weight of the bowling ball teaches us about who God has made us to be.
As believers, we are not all given the same advantages and disadvantages on our Christian walk: we all have different “weights.” Some of us live easier lives and may only hit a few pins. Some have lived through terrible calamities and may end up with a perfect strike. God uses each of us for His purposes. Each bowling ball is different and unique, but has been made with the same purpose and goal: to knock down as many pins as possible. Paul wrote in his letter to the people of Ephesus, “He himself granted that some are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). God has given all of us special gifts and talents–“weights”–and has equipped us to do his work, to love one another, and to, as Paul stated, “Bear one another’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2). You see, although each bowling ball has a different weight, every bowling ball was created to accomplish the same task: knock down as many pins as possible. God has created all of us in a special and unique way–no one is truly identical–with the same goal: to help others, care for others, pick others up, and love others with our whole heart.
Now, after we let go of that heavy bowling ball, where does it go after we knock down all those pins? Unless you make a wild swing, all the balls on the lane end up in the same place. They go back to the docking station next to the bowlers to be used on their next turns. The Bible is clear that believers can lose their salvation if they choose to leave the narrow path. Otherwise, all genuine, Holy Spirit-filled Christians will end up with Jesus no matter how many pins are hit in the process. Jonah, that famous character from the Bible that was swallowed by a large fish, chose to flee from God but God needed him to return–to be docked in the glory of God–so that people would be saved. Jonah writes, “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, ‘Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it, for their wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord” (Jonah 1:1-3).
After setting out for the straight and narrow way, Jonah falls in a gutter and decides to not listen to God. Have you ever not listened to your parents? I have; and I got in trouble. Jonah got in trouble for not doing what God needed him to do; so God found a way to help Jonah return to Him and save His people. Jonah was swallowed up by a large fish and spit out in Nineveh. Just like the return bowl machine, God needs us to return to Him, even when we know we might get in trouble. God will always find a way to help us get back on the narrow way and to help us return to the love of Jesus Christ, but we must be willing to listen to Him and following His instructions. We must return to Him, and wait in the docking station for that glorious day when God needs us to share with others how much Jesus loves them. Are you docked and ready to go and help God share the good news?
I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to end up in the belly of any fish!
Your Friend, Holy Spirit!
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