Last week I wrote that the Royals were well on their way to a World Championship. This week the entire city and region are celebrating the accomplishment. So many random thoughts to share and lessons for reflection.
A dream can start a movement. I'm told that Dayton Moore, the General Manager who assembled the team, asked a question when he came to interview in 2006. At that time the Royals were among the worst teams in baseball. The question: "Where will the parade route be for the World Series?"
Deep pain and deep joy are often companions. Players who lost loved ones to death mirror a city in which some rejoice even as others grieve and struggle. We don't rise to the occasion, we default to our training. The Royals did their homework and made strategic decisions based on their preparation. The decisions paid off.
A shared mission creates lasting partnerships and friendships. When the focus is on the goal, people come together and discover meaningful relationships. That is true in the short term for projects like a baseball season and the team that plays it, or a city celebrating a parade with joy. It is also true for the long-term for individuals, groups, and communities like congregations. The best friendships will be shaped out of our commitment to God's mission for us.
Everyone has a part. Every player on the Royals seemed to have a moment, a part, and a role. I hear echoes of the Apostle Paul saying, "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." (1 Corinthians 12:27) I loved what one radio broadcaster said, reflecting on 800,000 people coming out for the parade. "When I was in a Catholic School growing up, I had a religion teacher. Someone said something about not being able to make a difference. He said, 'How much does a snowflake weigh? But if there are enough, they can cause an avalanche or shut down a city.' This week I felt like I was a snowflake!"
Our job isn't to keep people, but to equip and send them. One of the odd features of Major League Baseball as a business is the rotation of players. This year's Royals team won't be the same next year. Neither will our congregation. A healthy organization will play a role in the development and training of the individuals it serves. So will a healthy congregation. Our job is to make disciples who make disciples. Our job is not to build the church. Jesus said he would do that.
The main thing needs to be the main thing! Imagine Ned Yost, the Royals manager, saying to the players, "Guys, this year we have a great team. I want you to get right to work on planning a parade for the city. Don't worry so much about hitting, fielding, running, or throwing. We need to work on the parade route, porta-potties, sound systems, and trash pickup!" My guess is that such a team wouldn't be celebrating at the end of the year, and such a manager probably wouldn't be managing. There are so many good things that come with life, with work, and with shared partnerships like the one we share as followers of Jesus. But we need to always remember the priorities. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. Make disciples.
These are just a few of my thoughts in the midst of the celebration. How about you?