Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: TEACH (11/29/18)
TITLE: Sugar Bowl
By Linda Lawrence
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But, wanting and hoping to connect with the boys, I came up with a game plan. I bought a football board game thinking they could teach me the object and rules of the game. Not that I cared, but I hoped teaching me would make them feel smart. Well, that was a fumble. They didn’t want to sit at the table to play. They wanted to pass a real football. Not an imaginary ball moving down the field according to the roll of the dice. They wanted to be outside, in the mud, actually sweating. The only tea that interested them was a kicking tee — or maybe a Mariners tee shirt. And my sugar bowl could not compete with the Rose Bowl.
Since I’m only able to be with the boys a couple times a year I knew I better forget tea parties and meet them on their ground or I would be left sitting at the table alone.
We walked to a nearby field and they started throwing the ball back and forth to each other, begging me to join in. But the ball is hard. It scares me. It can hurt my fingers. Ow! And it’s not even round like a ball should be. I could throw the ball . . . sort of . . . if two or three yards was far enough. But when the ball came flying toward me, I couldn’t help but flinch and yelp as it bounced off my fingertips and skipped out of bounds. Embarrassed, I asked the boys to teach me.
You need to not be afraid, they told me. Instead of backing away from the ball you need to embrace it. Well, I doubt they used the word embrace, but showed me that I needed to grab it with both hands and pull it into myself. To own it. Yes, to embrace it. They were right. That made all the difference.
I’ve been thinking about how Jesus might want to teach me a similar lesson. Jesus’ words are sometimes like a football thrown to us that we flinch from — afraid of what? His direction? His gifts? He hopes we will grab them, embrace them, take them into ourselves and run with them. He enjoys teaching the basics of throwing (or sowing) and catching (or receiving). When I ask Him to teach me the how-to’s of the game, I sense His laughter as He embraces me and lets me know that playing and living life with Him is much sweeter than my studying the object and rules of the game — even if I fumble.
“Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:29-30 MSG
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