What a beautiful day we had Saturday for soccer games! Friday was “iffy” all day but I understand the make-up games got played anyway. Please give Mrs. Rose a hug or pat on the back when you see her. She’ll be mad at me for saying this, but she works so hard making sure we have staff and volunteer coverage at all practices and games and that fields and equipment are in great shape whenever you guys show up. She also monitors other sports and activities in the gym and on the running track. She is blessed with God’s calling and the energy He provides!
This morning as I was enjoying my morning mug of coffee I saw a Facebook post from our Senior Pastor, Dr. Rob Couch. He shared the words from Ecclesiastes 9:17-18, “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a foolish leader. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.” His sermon yesterday was about what happens to people who never hear about Jesus. It was very interesting and can be found on our website if you’re curious. Anyway, as he preached, the words of a song I haven’t thought about in many years came to mind. I began playing guitar when I was in the 5th grade. Back in the 60’s and early 70’s we didn’t have multiple tv channels, video games, or social media. I spent many hours just sitting on my bed at my house on Mohawk Street listening to 8-track tapes of Simon and Garfunkel, John Denver, Jim Croce, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and others. I would adjust my tuning so that the chords I knew would work with the songs I was listening to. I still play many of the songs when I’m feeling nostalgic. One of the CSN&Y songs I loved was Teach Your Children Well. While I’m quite sure that there was no “theological” intent in the song, I still absorbed some of the logic. It begins with, “You, who are on the road, must have a code that you can live by.” All of us who are reading this know the code we live by. It’s the one we try to teach our children; ours and the ones God and Mrs. Rose place on your teams.
My children are both married and raising children of their own. Both, in fact have been CSports coaches. If you ever asked them about “wisdom they learned from their dad” they would both roll their eyes and say things like, “Pick your battles”, “Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it”, and, after an accident where they say, “I didn’t mean to”, I would tell them, “Mean NOT to!” As they, along with their wonderful and God sent spouses, raise my grandchildren, I know that they will relate their own wisdom with its present day relevance so that my grandsons, their children, will grow to be God’s servants and instruments of His peace.
When I was growing up, along with fire drills in school, we had atomic bomb drills in which we would go into the hallway and cower in the corners. I grew up during the cold war, racial conflicts, multiple assassinations, unpopular wars, and heard the music, heard the rhetoric, and survived the turmoil of the times. The children we are helping to raise, the ones I continually encourage you to teach, mentor, and model for, are coming up in their own troubled world. We are God’s instruments who must guide them through experience after experience so that they may achieve their own wisdom to pass along to the next generation.
Last week I was walking in the hallway by the gym doors and saw Pastor Jean Tippit come out of the gym with a gentleman who is the owner of a professional sports team. She stopped me and introduced me to him. As she had been telling him about our church, she asked me to tell him about our Recreation and CSports ministry. I can talk about that all day, and almost did, but I told him mainly about how fitness, recreation, and sports are ways we get people in position to see our church, meet wonderful people, and hear the Word. I told him our goals regarding competitive sports and how we, while never compromising effort or skill development, emphasize teamwork, sportsmanship, grace, and comradery in all of our activities. We don’t shout at players, referees, or anybody except with encouraging words. Our post game spirit tunnels where parents of both teams raise hands together so that players from both teams can run through, feeling the support and appreciation of all show that our efforts are working. The team owner nodded and, I believe, shared the somewhat idealistic intent of our ministry influence, as he knew it just isn’t that way out in the “world”… the world our children and grandchildren are growing up in.
The end of the song I referenced earlier tells children, “You of tender years can’t know the fears that your elders grew by, and so please them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.” It ends with, “Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry, so just look at them and sigh, and know they love you.” Thank you all for being the teachers, the pray-ers, the facilitators, and the supporters as we, through the hot days of soccer, seek to Love God, Love People, and Change the World. See you on the fields!
In His Service,
Steve Ellisor, Recreation Minister
Christ United Methodist Church
“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6