Imagine that you buy your son a brand new baseball glove. It was just the one that he wanted. He oiled it just right, wrapped around an old baseball to where its curves and flexibility were perfect. Then he put it on the shelf.
There that glove sits on the shelf. Oh, it has a prominent spot, but still it sits unused. Over the course of time the son might take it down once or twice a year and put it on, perhaps even pop it with a baseball or his fist, but sure to return it to its place.
Dad’s heart breaks. He longed to see it used and even worn out from playing catch, digging ground balls out of the dirt, or diving for fly balls nearly out of reach, often leaving grass stains on it. Dad would even have a little joy if the glove was only used to slap the dugout bench or the bang on the chain link fence to start a late inning rally.
But the glove sits on the self unused. It was the perfect gift. Dad knew it when he gave it to his son. The child was excited when he received it, but save the occasional ceremonial wearing, it remains unused. It sits on the shelf.
Not too many days ago, sanctuaries were filled with people singing, “He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!” Many of those people won’t be seen in a church building until next Easter. Some will drop in for Mother’s Day and a handful might come for an hour at Christmas.
Some come every Sunday truly seeking the Lord. Some come every Sunday logging in their pew time. And then there are those who come every Sunday, and can hardly wait for service to begin. There are those few that wake up celebrating every day as the day the Lord has made, rejoicing and living it to the full.
It is those few who know what it is to live life to the full. Their baseball gloves are worn and scratched and the laces have been replaced more than once. They know the life smells of horsehide, a freshly watered infield, and can smell a new mown field from a mile away.
For some people this is struggling through tough times but keeping faith in God. For some it is helping a stranger. For others, it is giving beyond the tithe and knowing the joy of sacrifice. For many, it is battling pain while keeping joy in their hearts.
For many, their baseball gloves are spiritual gifts and God-given talents. These individual blessings long to be put to use to produce good fruit. They cannot sit dormant. They cannot sit on the shelf. They beg to be put to use.
Some have truly put their gift of salvation on the shelf, breaking it out only once or twice a year. They grace God with their presence and wonder why he is not more thankful. Some have taken their gift of salvation and tossed it in with the other clutter of their lives. They have forgotten that it is even there, save perhaps when they gasp at how quickly their own children are growing and they ask what it is to be saved and live for God.
And some have drifted into the apathy and ambivalence of the world forgetting the most wonderful gift the world has ever known. Christ died to take away your sins. When your professed your faith in him, your slate was wiped clean. It is a done deal. It is finished!
You are forgiven! By his gift alone, you have been made right with God!
The question that we are called to answer each and every day of our lives is, “How will I respond to this incredible gift?”
Will we put it on the shelf, throw it in with the rest of the clutter, or just forget about it altogether?
Will we put it to use by taking this gift of life and gift of salvation and live to the fullest extent possible, seeking to bring glory to God every step of the way?
I still have feelings that I can’t explain at the smell of horsehide and freshly watered infields. I am too old to dig balls out of the dirt or dive for them in the outfield. Those days are gone, but I have found other ways—many other ways—to live this life and live out my salvation for God.
I can no more put that gift on the shelf than I could a new ball glove. I have to put it to use.
What are you doing with your salvation?
Are you diving for line drives and scooping hard hit ground balls out of the dirt or does your glove sit on the shelf?
Is your salvation sitting on the shelf?