Bowling With Christ: Pin #6 – What are the pins?
How are you doing today? Have you all recouped from your egg-travagant Easter Celebrations and egg-cellent Easter Egg hunts? Just last weekend, I spent time with my family to celebrate Easter, and I am still recouping from the driving, eating way too much food, and not getting enough sleep. One of these days I will be able to take a deep breath! Maybe that day will come when Summer Vacation roles around!!
Today, we are going to figure out what bowling pins have to do with God, but first I must tell you a story. When I was in Junior High School, my class was invited to go bowling during the day: it was part of our gym class. For several weeks, we would get on a school bus, travel to the local bowling alley, bowl a few games, and then get on the bus to go back to school. During those several weeks, we learned about bowling balls, different machines that are involved to pick up the pins, reset the pins, and return the ball, and we learned the rules of bowling and how to keep score with paper and pencil (and no computers!). Even though everything that we learned was amazing, I was really amazed when I learned about the bowling pins. I always that they were made of some type of metal or strong resistant material that never cracked or chipped; essentially, they were indestructible. No matter how hard a bowling ball hit a pin, the pin seemed perfect every time it was set back up.
So I asked my teacher, “What are bowling pins made out of?” And she said, “Bowling pins are made out of layers of wood, molded and glued together.” So I did a little bit more research. All bowling pins are made “of new (unused), sound, hard maple.” The maple used is harvested above the 45th parallel, which runs through the northernmost states of the United States, above the areas where high mineral concentrations lessen the wood’s density. Bowling pins are made out of wood–strong and layered maple, not metal or something indestructible. I found that to be fascinating. More on pins in a little bit!
Last week, we asked the question, where do bowling balls go after they 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. 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. Whoever would have thought that a simple ball return and docking station could helps understand that we need to return to God?
Back the pins! What do bowling pins teach us about Jesus? The bowling pins are rewards in heaven. Matthew 16:27 says, “For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father with angels; and then he shall reward every person according to their works.” Now, not everyone is able or willing or capable of doing the same work. Some knock down a few pins–creating a small difference in God’s Kingdom; some knock down all the pins–creating a big difference in God’s Kingdom; and some will not knock down any pins–creating nothing in God’s Kingdom. God knows what we are capable of and just because I knock down one pin and you knock down all the pins does not mean that God loves me less and you more. What God is taking note of is that we try–we do our best to do His work, to do what He has called us to do. God needs us to try, because He has a reward in heaven waiting for us. And who knows, maybe I will knock down all the pins some day!
In 1 Corinthians 3:14, we learn that “If anyone’s work which they have built endures, they will receive a reward.” Again, God needs us to do our best to make sure that His love endures; and we can do that even if we use the bumpers and still end up in the gutter. Paul writes in the next verse, “If anyone’s work is burned, they will suffer loss; but they will be saved…” (1 Corinthians 3:15). Although we don’t get a strike every time, God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, will save us. Those pins at the end of the alley represent our rewards in heaven. God needs us to knock down as many pins down as we can; but more importantly, we need to do our best for God. Maybe knocking one pin down is the best we can do, and that is okay with God.
The next time you go bowling, remember that those wooden white-colored pegs at the end of the alley resemble God’s plans for us: we may not succeed in getting them all down, but at least we tried. Never give up. Keep trying. There is a reward in heaven waiting for you because God loves you no matter what. Whether you get a gutter ball or get a strike, God loves you.
Your Friend, Holy Spirit!
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