“For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The blowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.”
Every year at the opening of spring training, Tiger’s broadcasting icon Ernie Harwell would recite this passage from Song of Solomon. I love when the Tigers begin to start their spring training activities. When pitchers and catchers begin to report in the middle of February, it reminds me that spring is just around the corner no matter how cold it may feel outside. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter but usually by the time baseball hits the radio, I’ve had my winter fun and I’m ready for warmer weather.
Yes, I am a devoted Tigers fan. I have been for as long as I can remember, through thick and thin. The Tigers were horrible when I was growing up, (119 losses in 2003) but I always stuck it out with them. In 2005 when I was in Iowa, I remember walking around campus wearing my Tigers hat and someone from a dorm window yelled, “HEY, THE TIGERS SUCK!” to which my only response was, “I KNOW!” Regardless I was and still am proud to call myself a devoted Tigers fan. I wear the gear, listen to the games, and keep track of the players statistics. It’s something I’m pretty public and transparent about it.
A few weeks ago there was a “Bible Verse Challenge” making it’s way around Facebook. The concept was for 7 days to share your favorite Bible verse and nominate a few people each day to participate in the challenge as well. I ended up being nominated by a few people and found myself conflicted and struggling with doing the challenge at all. Not because I couldn’t think of Bible verses to post or that I’m never online. It sounds dumb but, I was almost afraid to post anything about my faith. I didn’t want to offend anyone (a large percentage of my friends are non believers) and I didn’t want to get into any theological spats. My personal relationship with God, I felt, was something to keep personal. How could I consider myself a disciple of Christ if I wasn’t willing to publicly show it? I prayed about and took part in the challenge and was able to find a lot of joy in it. It was almost freeing.
The whole thing was a bit of a wake up call. Had I been challenged to participate in the “7 day Name Your Favorite Detroit Tiger” challenge, I would not have hesitated to start posting and nominating. Why then was it so hard to be public about my faith which is infinitely more important than rooting for a baseball team. I let my priorities get mixed and my perception of my public faith become distorted.
I need a good wake up call like that every now and again. We all probably do. It’s easy on one hand to proclaim something like our faith is the most important thing in our lives, but do our actions reflect that? I claim to love the Tigers and my actions show that; it’s apparent I invest myself into following them. The hard question I had to ask myself recently is “Have I been investing myself into my faith growth the way I invest into other things of this world? Are my actions reflective of what I proclaim, or am I just kidding myself?”
Spring is traditionally the time for everything to wake up. Gone are the drab days of winter. Everything around us is coming to life. No matter where you are in your faith walk, take time to take a step back today and ask God to challenge you. That is a scary prayer to lift up, but God does His best work when we are outside of our comfort zone, because then we need to completely rely on Him. He equips the called; He meets all our needs for the glory of Jesus Christ.