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Don't Miss First!

Here in the United States, we are right in the middle of baseball season. Now, I love the game of baseball. I love the history of the game, the action that can happen in a moment’s notice, and the atmosphere of the ballpark when you are around other people who appreciate the game.


Baseball, like everything else in life, comes with its own set of rules which must be followed. Several of those rules apply to running the bases. I don’t know how many times it has happened in the history of the game.


Picture this, if you will.


The pitcher delivers a pitch, a fastball right down the middle of the strike zone. The batter sees the opportunity to do something great and swings the bat. The bat collides with the ball at just the right moment that the ball goes sailing into the stands in right field. It’s a home run! The batter takes off running and makes it back around to home plate. When the batter touches home plate, the umpire calls, “OUT!”


Wait! What? Out!?


How can that be?


Tempers flare immediately! The manager comes running out of the dugout. The batter starts yelling at the umpire.


The umpire keeps his composure and explains, “You never touched first base.”


You never touched first base.


I think about that rule a lot, especially this time of year. There are baseball teams playing at every level and one of the most fundamental rules of baseball is that you have to touch every base, in order, when you are running the bases.


How can we apply this fundamental rule of baseball to our spiritual lives?


Well, it is a lot easier than you might think. You see, there are a lot of people out there who are running the bases. They are doing what they feel are good things to do. We call them works.


Our works do not save us, we know this. Our righteousness is but filthy rags in the sight of God. We can do everything that the Bible teaches is right to do. We can go to church every time the doors are open. We can even serve in the church in various ways. We can feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe those who are in need, preach the gospel, lead others to Christ, and even disciple others in the way of the Lord.


We can do these things our entire lives and come to the end of our life thinking we have it made. However, if we did not get the first, fundamental part of the Christian life down, we will hear those dreaded words, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”


Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (ESV)


My friends, you have to get the first thing right. You have to touch first base before you can run to any of the other bases and well before you make it home.


You see, on the day, in the moment you leave this earthly plane, you will enter eternity. Where you spend eternity will depend on your answer to this one question.


Did you answer when God called out to you?


If you did not answer, then all the works you have done are nothing. They will count as nothing. You will be one of those who call out to Jesus saying, “But I did this and that in Your Name.”


And He will look at you with, what I imagine will be a combination of love and pain in His eyes and say, “I never knew you. Depart from me.”


In the life of a true believer, first base is answering the call. It is submitting to Christ as Lord of our lives. Only then can we be assured that when we make it around the bases that we have to run in our lives, and we make it to our final home, that we will hear those words all of us long to hear. When Jesus looks at us and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”


I urge everyone reading this, do not miss first base. The good thing is, as long as you draw breath, it is never too late.

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