A major league baseball pitcher was having trouble. He started the season with a terrible record. After the mid-season break, though, things began to get better. He won four games in a row and suddenly became nearly unhittable. When asked what was different, he replied, "Mechanics."
As Christians, we are pulled in two directions. We all want to go to heaven, but this life also holds great appeal. We are like the youngster in Sunday school who listened intently while the teacher told about the beauties of heaven. She concluded by saying, "Raise your hand if you want to go to heaven." Every hand shot up immediately—except one. "Why don't you want to go to heaven, Johnny?" "Well," he replied, "Mom just baked an apple pie for dinner."
The story is told of a child psychologist who spent many hours constructing a new driveway at his home. Just after he smoothed the surface of the freshly poured concrete, his small children chased a ball across the driveway, leaving deep footprints. The man yelled after them with a torrent of angry words. His shocked wife said, "You're a psychologist who's supposed to love children." The fuming man shouted, "I love children in the abstract, not in the concrete!"
Who isn't inspired by a competitor who makes a comeback after being down and apparently out of the running! The runner who stumbles and falls but then gradually moves up on the pack and into the lead stirs the imagination of us all.
A man left his house for church one Sunday just as his neighbor was loading his golf clubs into his car. "Henry," the neighbor called, "come play golf with me today." Henry answered firmly, "I always go to church on the Lord's Day."
It's easy to see that we live "in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation" (Phil. 2:15). We are continually reminded that we live in a fallen world by our own sinful tendencies, by newspaper headlines that report horrifying crimes, and by a society that is growing accustomed to gross immorality.
A book in my library describes a marshal in Napoleon's army who was completely devoted to the emperor. One day the marshal was mortally wounded in battle. As he lay dying in his tent, he called for Napoleon, who soon came.