Royalty has come to Texas.
One week ago, a trade was finalized between the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers sending Prince Fielder to Texas and Ian Kinsler to the Tigers. Many people in the baseball world think this was a good deal for both teams. Texas had three middle infielders all capable of starting and Detroit was looking to move Miguel Cabrera back to first. Additionally, both Kinsler and Fielder had down years for both teams. Perhaps a change of scenery would do them good. As a Rangers fan, I am excited to see the new face of a franchise I’ve loved since I was a kid and to see that Ian Kinsler is going to a team where he can get more playing time and still be in contention for a World Series. I am hoping that whatever Prince Fielder is going through personally, he will receive support from a great organization that also supported Josh Hamilton in tough times. Well, only time will tell, but both players and franchises feel the decision was a good trade and it will be exciting to see what turns out.
Trades are a standard part of professional sports. Some good, some not so good. Sometimes one team gets the better deal while the other is stuck with nothing to show for their risk. People also make trades in life. Sure, it may not involve millions of dollars, but each day we all make decisions on what to buy, where to go, what to see–basically, how to spend and use our time in our lives. We make decisions on who to spend time with. Because time is a limited commodity, we have to make trade-offs. Do I trade five dollars for a big box Taco Bell meal with three tacos and a drink today, or do I spend five dollars to get a weeks worth of bananas and apples? Do I trade two hours studying for watching a two hour movie on Netflix? Do I trade time with God in the Divine Service on Sunday mornin’ for a few extra hours of sleep? Most of (if not all of) the time, we all pick the trade that doesn’t benefit us in the long run (I’m for sure guilty of this).
A few years ago, I blogged about this same issue. Well, as the Teacher said in Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun.” We still trade grace for sin. We still trade riches for rags. Ladies and gentlemen, we are sinners. Ragged, filthy, dirty sinners. We are looking at all that is now and we forget that there is so much more to come. We are concerned with having so many riches and possessions, the right networks, the right friends…the list goes on. We trade and trade until there’s nothing left to trade for and we gnash our teeth in darkness and despair, destined for death. Except…
Except God decided (with no input or help from us) that he was going to make a trade.
From the first moment when the human race sinned God had a plan to reconcile the world to himself. According to an early Christian hymn recorded by the Apostle Paul, the plan sounded something like this:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven…
The “He” referred to by Paul is none other than Christ Jesus, born in Bethlehem well over two thousand years ago. Jesus was the only man who ever lived who did not trade the fullness of God for earthly possessions or gain. In fact, Jesus took the world’s sin upon his shoulders and allowed peace to be made “by the blood of his cross” and resurrection. Since he is the firstborn from the dead, we who are also redeemed are raised anew and will be born from the dead as well. Day by day we are renewed in him and in his life. Each day we are given is another gift from God to go out and serve and love our neighbors so that they may know this same Christ that we know. He is our King, our brother, and our friend. He is here to trade his grace for our sin(whether you believe it or not, it’s true).
This being the case, continue in the faith like Paul says. Be stable and steadfast by grounding yourself in God’s Word. Attend Divine Service on Sunday and pray continually the rest of the days of the week. The more we as children of God spend with Him in His Word, the more we will get to know him and become like him. If you are not yet in the faith, dive into it! Get to know God. You can’t learn to swim without getting in the water and you can’t get to know God without learning who he is in His Word. Too long have I spent out of his Word on a regular basis, and I am repenting here before God and you, my brothers and sisters, now. The King is Here! How I have missed him and how glad I am Christ is working in all things! If He wasn’t, I’d still be stuck making terrible trades.