Everybody loves second chances, but not everybody recognizes them. I’ve had many second chances in my life, and the most weighty and memorable ones are the kingdom ones.
One week ago I was at Camden Yards in Baltimore watching an Orioles game when God told me to pray for one of the hostesses. I debated with God for a couple innings, then when the game went to extra innings I knew that God wouldn’t let me leave the ballpark until I prayed for her, so I did. Her name was Kelly, a person with a spirit who needed to know that God loved her. The entire game she had looked weary, but after I prayed for her, she smiled and said – “thank you, you made my night.” Totally worth it.
Fast forward a week.
So there I was sitting at the Nationals baseball stadium in Washington D.C. (I’m a baseball guy), when the game ended on a crucial double play. I was tired, my legs were hurting, I had to pee, I was thirsty, and I was only thinking of myself as we got up and left. Outside the stadium there were late night vendors trying to sell water, hats, and crack… all at the same time. I got a pound of each. Just kidding. After I bought my water, I saw a beggar and handed him a dollar. Not wanting to really stop, I put my hand on his shoulder, said something nice and walked away. Moments later I was sitting on the subway and thinking through how I might have been more like Jesus in that situation. I thought to myself: Man, that guy and all of the other beggars would have let me pray for them, because their need made them open. I should really assert myself with needy people. I felt as though I had missed my chance, then I thought through all of the times when I had missed chances and God brought along another one. I was thinking how I was a good moral person by giving someone money, but a bad kingdom person by not sowing Jesus into their lives. (That was a pretty genius thought. People who have thousands of followers on twitter and don’t follow anybody tweet that stuff). Realizing the power of that thought, I quickly opened my phone to jot it down. Right as I had punched in my last period, a man came and sat next to me on the subway. I greeted him and started small talk. Then, two minutes into the conversation the Holy Spirit nudged me… “be a kingdom person, not a moral person.” I was trapped. Not only was this my second chance, but that was time to put my new principle into practice. If I didn’t sow kingdom seed then I might as well have thousands of followers on twitter and not follow anybody. What was I to do? Be obedient I guess. I wasn’t nervous, just obstinate. I wasn’t unprepared, just too analytical. I didn’t lack knowledge, just fervor. But, as cliff divers do, I took a breath and jumped. Not knowing what I would hit; background, spiritual openness, or sensitivity of heart… I went for it. We connected and began to discuss what we were passionate about. We enjoyed sharing about our lives with one another. Sensing that our time was coming to a close, I asked if I could pray for him. He paused, and with hesitancy said yes. The next stop was his, so I kept it short. In it’s shortness, I think that a lifetime of hurt was touched, and a kingdom future was born. The man started to tear up. As I finished he said, “Peter, thank you.” Then got up and left.
What matters is that a person doing a good thing wasn’t the focus, Jesus was the focus. As for me, I got my second chance to say to the King, “you’re the King, have your way”.
What’s your second chance?
For the joysetbeforeme,