True Confessions of an Interim

Jun 25, 2024

By The Rev. Dr. Carl Grosse

Congratulations to the University of Tennessee men’s baseball team for winning their first-ever national championship! Denise and I thoroughly enjoyed following the playoffs, especially the dramatic first win over Florida State. We groaned at the errors and stranded baserunners, while celebrating the epic catches, pitching performances, and clutch hitting. For two people who have spent years following teams like the Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills (both 0-4 in Super Bowls) and Cleveland Browns (58 years with no Super Bowl appearances), the Volunteers baseball team were a nice change of pace.

How can you tell if a player is a Christian?  How can you tell if a player doesn’t have a desire to love God and love his neighbors?  Jesus jewelry? Bible verse tattoos? The ones who don’t strike out? Only certain schools? I honestly think it’s a fair question. Shouldn’t a follower of Jesus be somehow distinct from the heathen, even on the ball field? If not on the ball field, how about the workplace or the classroom? What about in the grocery store or while driving? If there isn’t a difference, why bother? 

If we only have some trinket or placard or t-shirt to tell others what we believe, what happens to our credibility if we make a mistake? What if we make a mistake and lie about it? What if we do something wrong and swear and get angry? What if we have some bumper sticker or bracelet that’s “Christian”, and we’re just boring? Should people patronize a business because it has a fish logo, regardless of the quality of products or services? Can you be a Christian telemarketer?

It seems that we should not expect favored treatment in the world because of something we wear or profess. We should expect to get a grade if we earned it, a chance at a job if we qualify, a win if we play better than our opponent. I don’t ask if a doctor is a “believer”, I’m more interested in their competence and skill at doctoring. We also should conduct ourselves as Jesus directs in any and all situations. Sometimes that might make us stand out, sometimes it won’t. If we’re faithful and don’t stand out, so what? Leave room for God to work! It’s more important that we be faithful, not that we stand out. In the kingdom of God, faithfulness it always outstanding!