Bowling With Christ: Pin #7 – The Foul Line…
How are you doing on this last day of April? As I say at the end of every month, “I can’t believe this month is over already!” This time I really mean it: it seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and waving palm branches in the air, and then we were finding colorful Easter Eggs. And now, April is just about over and May is on the horizon. I really wish time would slow down! Do you wish time would slow down or does that wish only get wished during summer vacation? Either way, April is over and May is just around the corner.
Today, we continue our bowling excursion with Jesus by looking at that pesky foul line that tells us we can’t get closer to the pins. Before we do that, though, let’s remind ourselves of what we talked about last week. Last week, we talked about those funny looking-wooden-things at the end of the bowling alley….That’s right! They are called bowling 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 for God’s kingdom; some knock down all the pins for God’s Kingdom; and some will not knock down any pins. 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! 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.
I know one day God will give me the strength to knock down all those pins; but right now, knocking down just a few is what I can do. However, I bet if I was able to cross that line at the beginning of the alley, I would be able to knock down even more pins! What is that line called and what does it teach us about God and Jesus? Does anyone know what that line is called that separates the alley from where we can walk around, talk with our friends, and eat snacks? It’s called the foul line and it is very important in the game.
Bowlers must stay behind the line when delivering their swing to keep the game safe and fair. Lanes are polished so that they are very slippery, so people can fall and get hurt if they cross over the foul line. Also, the line acts as a neutral starting point so that no one player has an advantage. If someone does end up over the foul line, any points scored are forfeited. Relating the foul line to our faith, we can think of it as what keeps us from Satan. Satan is the one who tries to make us do and say bad things. As a matter of fact, Satan is pretty excited when we have to sit in time-out. He is constantly trying to lure us over the foul line so that we will get in trouble and lose or have to forfeit our points.
But we must be strong and courageous and avoid going over the foul line. Did you know that Satan tempted Jesus to cross over the foul line. As a matter of fact, according to Matthew (4:1-11), Satan tempted Jesus three times. But do you know what Jesus did? He never crossed the foul line! He remained on God’s side because he knew what might happen if he gave in to Satan and stepped over the foul line. We must be strong like Jesus, even when we want to do something bad, so that we can stay on God’s good side. We must remain behind the foul line!
It is up to us to stay close to the Lord and well back from his line so that we may keep the rewards we have earned. Colossians 2:18 says, “Let no one cheat you of your reward…” So, are you going to stay back from the foul line or are you going to be tempted to step over it? If you do happen to step over it, Jesus will be there to rescue you; but like last week, we need to do our best to follow in the footsteps of Jesus all the days of our life. If we do that, then we will still be able to have fun bowling with Jesus.
Your Friend, Holy Spirit!
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