May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
You may have noticed the Cubs didn't make it to the World Series this year.
Knowing I'm a baseball fan, and knowing I regret not watching my team play in the World Series this year (or any year), a friend loaned me a video that had to do with baseball. More specifically, the video shows baseball greats from the past. Watching, I was amazed to find that
· an overly competitive Ty Cobb was thrown out more times trying to steal than any other man in baseball history.
· homerun slugger, Babe Ruth, struck out more times than just about anybody else.
What amazed me most is this: nobody considers these men to be failures. Indeed, few people remember they had any failures at all.
Now it is quite possible you may find those thoughts about baseball a little out of place -- even strange -- on a December morning, a morning when we're far removed from the baseball season.
If so, allow me to explain.
These stories are important, especially to those of us who sometimes, perhaps always, concentrate on our shortcomings rather than our strengths.
Truly, the Lord Jesus has, through His life, His suffering, and His death shown that our Heavenly Father cares about us. The Lord, who knows us better than anyone else, has decided He would prefer to save us rather than throw us onto some spiritual junk pile.
Even so, Scripture assures us that the Holy Spirit has given us some special and unique gifts. These are not inconsequential gifts since they can be used to further the Kingdom and assist others with whom we come into contact.
So, are we failures or successes? With the Lord's help, we can be enabled to look at the things we can do rather than the things we can't. With God's assistance, we can be assured He is going to give us hope to accomplish His purpose for this and every day.
Concentrate on the possibilities and not the failures. That probably would be the advice of Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth. That most certainly is the direction God would have us go.
That's what St. Paul was trying to say when he wrote: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace. . . ."
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear Father, in Jesus You have given us a hope that will endure. May we live every day filled with gratitude for the Savior's sacrifice and the Holy Spirit's gifts. This we pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries