The Bowling League

Today’s Word: For the first time in my adult life I have joined a men’s bowling league. I love to bowl, but I joined so I could strengthen my weak knee. The first week was kind of a shock to the system. Picture 50 of the rowdiest, foulest, and smelliest men in town gathered together with no reason to be proper. After spending time in the Navy, I was surprised at how worse these men acted. I found it interesting that men could say such horrible things to each other without being offended. I guess everyone was so equally offended, that nobody took it personal.

Part of me wanted to quit that night; however, I asked myself, “Will this group of people change my behavior if I stay hear all year?” And this question is important for all of us to ask, for when we interact with worldliness, we need to make sure we stay away from the areas that bring us temptation. Thankfully for me, I have always been able to maintain my witness among sinful men like this. So I felt at peace committing to bowl.

Throughout that first night, I could see my team and others testing me to see how I would react amongst them. It felt like they would insult each other, and then look at me to see my response. Never once did they insult me, nor did I insult them. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us how we should act in the presence of others. He proclaims, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Mat 5:14-16)

Last night was my second week at the bowling alley, and strangely enough, more of the men behaved themselves. Even though I heard some horrible things from a distance, my team was actually quite civil. So what changed from the last 3 hour interaction I had with these men? The answer is that they respected the “Light” that was radiating through me. The Word for the day is that our actions will always have a greater impact (for evangelism) than the words we choose to share our faith. Not a single person in that bowling ally knows that I am a pastor, yet they are beginning to see a goodness and a peace that they do not understand. There is now a light in the darkness.

Christ is unknowingly piercing the hearts of these hard living men. The Holy Spirit goes before me, prodding their hearts and preparing them for reconciliation to himself. As Christians, we need to walk that tightrope of being in the World but not of the world. We are called to get down in the mud, yet remain clean and pure through Christ. Therefore, let us not allow the darkness of this world to overcome the Light within us! Rather, let us share our Light in all situations.