Last time, the article subject involved things that you should not throw away. For me, I do not want to throw away certain e-mail messages from three of our sons concerning their perspectives of the quality of baseball umpiring I did, particularly as it involved their games.
More information has come to light during this past week.
Steve and Natalie Cunningham of St. Marys, W.Va., have been consistent friends for many years. I used to be their pastor, too, at the Willow Island Baptist Church. When we moved to Mason, W.Va., in 1998, they were a big help to us as we made the transition. We let our two sons, Keithen and Eran, stay in the home we had there in Pleasants County to finish out the 1998-1999 school year. When Terry or I could not be there, the Cunninghams provided some helpful watch-care.
After reading last week’s article, Steve e-mailed, “I remember driving Keithen and Eran back from Ravenswood after a high school game, and they complained for several miles how you were so much harder on them than you were on everyone else…They hated it when you called the plate…”
I also received another message from Keithen, who asked, “Wonder why my batting average went up so much when you moved to Mason and umpired less of my games?”
Sometimes judgments concerning you just seem to ooze out of the woodwork. Accountings are given that do not seem to be accurate. But that is exactly what will happen when the day comes for us to stand before the judgment seat of the Lord. Facts are going to emerge and come to light about our lives. It is going to involve the good, the bad, and ugly.
The Scripture gives us a heads-up about it. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Furthermore, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
Now, while I may pooh-pooh how my sons ridicule to this day the quality and accuracy of my umpiring their strike zones back in the day, I will not be able to do that with the Lord. There are several reasons why:
First, his accountings will be accurate. According to Scripture, He keeps accurate records in books what we do.
Second, His accountings will be fair and consistent based on who He is and what He did by way of the Cross and the Resurrection. There is no bias or favoritism concerning us over against others. The Cross and Resurrection prove it.
Third, His accountings will be righteous. He is absolutely holy, without sin. That qualifies Him as the only One worthy to judge us according to divine standards and principles.
Fourth, He is Lord. What will it be like to stand before Him? We cannot fathom it.
About the best we can do concerning that coming day is to accept the truth that it is a coming reality. It is our present “duty” to “Fear God and keep His commandments” now. The affect of doing so keeps the accountable-list shorter, while the spiritual by-product works a stronger Godly influence in this society in which we live. The less wrongs we commit in our lives the righter things can be in life at large, do you not figure? It stands to reason when one considers the affect of practicing the Biblical principles of Christ.
So, last week citing the exhortation of the Writer of Hebrews that we should be careful to not “cast away your confidence” in Christ, Keithen concluded his last note to me about the umpiring stuff with, “Confidence in Christ…yes. Confidence in the umpire that was my Dad…not so much.”
Reckon how he would react if I volunteered to umpire the games of his sons? That would really be funny!
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.