|The MLB Trade Deadline each year is somewhere around July 31. This year it was 6:00 p.m. on August 1 … and, just as happened a few years ago, Justin Verlander was traded to the Houston Astros. Max Scherzer is now with the Texas Rangers, Jamer Candelario is back with the Chicago Cubs, and Michael Lorenzen will finish the season in Philadelphia. Edwin Rodriguez used a clause in his contract to nix a trade, preferring to remain a Tiger, at least for the rest of this season.
Since July 31 is also our wedding anniversary, I have often feinted nervousness over the possibility of Monica combining (or confusing) the two. As that deadline has now come and gone, I am happy to report that I have not been traded (and there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that the only reason I was not traded is because I exercised the “Rodriguez Clause” in my contract). While negotiations continue, I fully anticipate that our 2023 Christmas letter (if we actually get one out this year) will report that Monica has agreed to another one-year contract … which means we are now working on year 48.
The uneasiness in many major league dugouts around the MLB Trade Deadline is not feinted. I know the emotions a pastor and his family experience while considering a call. I cannot imagine living with the possibly of my manager calling me into his office to tell me I am being sent to a different part of the country. Then again, there are many other things about being a major league athlete that I cannot imagine.
Fortunately, there is no trade deadline – nor any possibility of our being traded – in the Kingdom of God. Our salvation, thankfully, was secured through the greatest trade of all time. Here is Paul’s report of the trade: “For our sake, he (God the Father) made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (1 Corinthians 5.21) The deadline the Father set for that trade was Good Friday, though it was not finalized until three days later. And it was all done “for our sake” well before any of us were born!
And if you feel better having a written contract in your hand, grab your baptismal certificate and give it a review. You will note that there is no termination date nor an (*) explaining God’s way of getting out of the deal. As we are baptized into the Name of the Triune God, we are adopted into his family FOREVER. The “trade” is that Jesus takes ALL our sin upon himself and places upon us ALL his righteousness. The only individual who has the freedom to walk away from the deal is the one whose name is on the certificate. There may have been a Trade Deadline for Jesus (You can read about his negotiations in Luke 22.39-44), but the deadline observed in Luke 23.44-48 is actually a lifeline for you, me, and all humankind. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6.3-4)
This is what is so great and freeing about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He takes all of our sin, death, and issues upon himself even before we ask while, simultaneously giving/offering to us every blessing of heaven – never forcing them upon us … but rather, giving us the option of receiving the gifts or walking away. In this we realize that he, as the creator of life and all things, has designed how life is to be lived in peace and joy. The more we walk away from his design (not trusting him … thinking we know better … deciding to ignore or refusing to hear his word … going our own way) the further we walk away from the total peace and joy he offers.
It’s like each day we design our own trade … either receiving what he gives us freely through his Word and Sacraments or following our own (or the world’s or Satan’s) designs. This is why, for me, it is so important to start each day receiving Jesus in his Word and sharing myself with him in prayer. In prayer I share with him my life, with all its warts, fears, failures, and longings. In the Word he gives me his life, with all its peace, joy, and freedom. And, then throughout the day, the more I repeat that pattern, the more thankful and joyous I become … to the point of seeing how the blessings grow as I allow his love to flow through me to all those around.
Another trade deadline? It may have been for Major League Baseball, but not for you or me. For us every day instead is another anniversary! That is, another day to celebrate the unconditional love we are constantly receiving from our heavenly Father through his Son, Jesus … another day to be shaped by his Word … another day to take in – and give away – all that the Holy Spirit breaths into us. And just think, 47 years is nothing when compare with eternity … which is the length of the no-trade contract God has given us. “Remember,” Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (John 4.13-15)
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I am enjoying “Lectionary Kick Start” from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
A little spiritual refreshment as the weekend approaches.
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Another Trade Deadline