My Silver Fox and I enjoy following the Atlanta Braves baseball team. ESPECIALLY this year. Los Bravos are 8 games up in the East Division. Woohoo! That’s baseball speak for they are doing well, very well.
We sit in our preferred spots after supper at night and gaze at our embarrassingly large TV watching our favorites come up to bat. Freddie Freeman has been earning every penny of his $55 million net worth (at least in terms of the Atlanta Braves franchise) with his consistent hits and astonishing plays as the first baseman. Ronald Acuna, Jr. is the lead-off hitter for good reason. That boy knows how to get on base! Ozzie Albies is fun to watch. Dansby Swanson is easy on the eyes (ha), and Josh Donaldson has recently emerged as a heavy hitter.
Most nights we watch a few minutes of the Braves game, turn to an episode of something on Netflix, check the score of any football game that is remotely interesting, tune in to any late-breaking news, then switch back to the Braves. We stay cool, comfortable and have a snack or two within a few steps if we get the munchies. 🙂
Last week a much-anticipated trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina was cancelled because of Hurricane Dorian. I was disappointed and itching to go SOMEWHERE, so we decided to go watch our Braves in person.
I researched the best available seats IN THE SHADE, expecting a very warm night, and found some just a few feet past the first base line on a lower level with a great view of the entire ballpark. We spent quite a bit on tickets and a parking pass. (I’ll have to confess the amount before Steve sees the credit card bill. Gulp!) We drove to the stadium (after a delightful detour to Rome, Georgia to hug on some folks), found our designated parking lot and made our way into Sun Trust Park. What an impressive venue!!
Another “gulp” was spending $26 for 2 bottled waters, a hot dog and a serving of chicken and waffles (pretty unusual fare for a baseball stadium, don’t you think?).
It happened to be “Los Bravos Night” where they recognized the Atlanta Braves personnel from Latin American countries, thus lots of salsa music. 🙂 We got close up shots of some of our favorites during warm-ups and watched an exciting game with the Braves winning 4 to 3 over the Washington Nationals. To add to the merriment, the Friday night home game meant a big fireworks show. This particular show was choreographed to fit some of the most popular Latin hits. It was great!
Then, we joined the throngs leaving the stadium, walking to our cars and maneuvering through traffic (LOTS of traffic). We drove for about an hour, found a hotel, collapsed in bed, got up, had breakfast and made our way back home.
When we watch games at home, we don’t suffer a minute of discomfort (unless they have an “off” night and get hopelessly behind). But, when we went to Atlanta to watch the Braves in person, we had to quite literally “put skin in the game” — time, effort, discomfort (traffic, heat, lots of walking, less than plush seats) and, of course, MONEY.
We can casually say, “We love to watch the Braves.” But last week we said, in effect, “We love to watch the Braves enough to invest ourselves in going to a game.”
As often happens, a spiritual application came to my mind. How easily I say to myself and others, “I love God.” But what would it look like for me to truly love Him with ALL my heart, soul and strength? To really put skin into the focused act of loving God? I understand the concept when it comes to Steve, the kids and the grandkids. I am completely willing to put heart, energy, time and money into demonstrating my wholehearted love for them, but what about in my relationship to God?
Deuteronomy 6:5 — ” Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
ALL your heart. ALL your soul. ALL your strength.
In Matthew 22:38, Jesus called it the first and the greatest commandment. So, why do I continue to wrestle with what that means in terms of everyday living? Is there a gap between loving God and loving Him with ALL my heart? If so, what needs to change in my life to authentically and absolutely fulfill that commandment?
More time spent in His word? More willingness to live with Christlike attitudes, thoughts, words? More sacrificial acts of service? More money given to Kingdom causes? More preparation of my heart before entering times of worship?
Or maybe it’s not a matter of more, more, more. Maybe it’s an issue of intentionality and becoming conscious of the motives in my heart.
That’s what I’ve been pondering this week. I’d love to read your thoughts.