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FRONT-PORCH GOSPEL: Never, ever lose your childlike wonder

Welcome this week to the “front porch.”

“And Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘... Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven’” – Matthew 18:1.

I don’t watch the news anymore. Really. I mean, I already know what’s going on. If we watch the news today it will be a slightly worse assessment from what we watched yesterday. Occasionally I’ll err and scroll through the computer; but, man, I have to tell you: You can only read so much before you get depressed and way down in the dumps.

Used to, when we faced a crisis we’d put down our clubs, call a truce, and try to work together for a while. Not today. Today we put down our clubs so we can grab a bazooka. It’s the craziest thing I think I’ve ever seen.

But for the record, since 1997 I’ve always figured my job as a meager columnist in this corner of the world has been to give the readers something that is different from what they’ve had to read in the seven pages leading up to this one. You understand. Despite our deviation from that purpose slightly in our opening paragraph, that’s what we’re here to do again, for about the one-thousandth time in the past two decades.

Ay, yes, there’s good news today. Did you know that by the time you grab your coffee and get this far into the reading that baseball will now be in full swing. Maybe – please, Lord – this diversion will help people choose to grab a baseball bat in their minds and use it for something other than hitting other people over the head with it. Let’s play some real baseball here.

With baseball, you see, comes something very special, one of the most special things you’ll ever see, hear, or feel. It’s called childhood wonder.      

Listen, don’t you ever lose that wonder that comes from deep down in your soul – or, if you already have, grab ahold to it again, if it’s the last thing you do. Don’t ever stop being the little boy who wanders over to the sandlot alone, with nothing but a bat and a ball and a backstop.

Be the young man who steps up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, two outs, bases loaded, down by three. You’re in the World Series. With one perfectly-timed swing of the bat, send that tattered leather ball sailing over the fence and trot the bases like the ol’ Babe himself, and listen to the wild applause of 60,000 strong at the game.

Yes, my friends, right now – in the here and now – you’ve entered childlike-wonder land. There’s no place like it in the whole world.

It’s the ability to dream big.

It’s seeing a homerun in a sunrise.

It’s seeing a bases-clearing double in a red rose blooming outside the back door.

It’s waking up every day as if it were Christmas morning.

Never, ever, lose it.

Every day for you is the bottom of the ninth, and you’re at bat.

You’re walking into the batter’s box, you’re digging your cleats into the batter’s box, you’re spitting into the dirt and grabbing some dust to rub on your hands, you’re stepping in the box and eyeing that pitcher standing high on the mound in front of you, there's a little snarl on your lips, you’re tipping your hat to the pitcher to show mutual respect, and you’re preparing to take that little round white ball with the red laces that the pitcher has in his hand so far up into the stands that the little boy up in the cheap seats with his dad is about to get the souvenir of a lifetime.

“Stand aside news programs with your ugly politics and the rest of the bad-news world,” you say, “I’m about to create childhood wonder all over again.”

Oh, yes, there it goes – that ball is high in the air, the outfielder is going back, back, back, he’s nearing the wall, this ball is going-going-gone! 

Oh, my, the poor pitcher never even turned to look.

Coach Steven Bowen, a long-time Red Oak teacher and coach, now enjoys his time as a full-time writer and preacher of the gospel. In addition to his evangelistic travels, he works and writes for the Church of Christ of Red Oak at Uhl Road and Ovilla. Their worship times are 10 a.m. Sundays and 7:30 pm. Wednesdays. Email or call or text 972-824-5197.

Ellis County Press

208 S Central St. 
Ferris, TX 75125