Keeping the Ball In Bounds

Okay I’ll admit it. I do have a favorite set of players on Saturdays at our soccer games. Our first hour is the Pre-K league where three-and-four-year-olds bounce around all over the field. I just love watching them play.

I’m not real sure they know what they are doing — it looks like organized chaos to me — but they sure seem to have a good time doing it. This past Saturday the sun was just peeking over the pines out back of the church and the air was full of kids laughing and playing. These kids don’t worry about winning or strategy. They just want to PLAY.

I saw one kid score in his own goal and celebrate like a true “World Cupper”. And you know what, the mistake didn’t matter. The parents saw what he accomplished and celebrated with him. In other words, we’re not real sticklers for the rules in the Pre-K league. The kids should simply just be having fun.

Before the season began, I met with the parents and told them that the Pre-K kids kick the ball out of bounds a lot. We don’t want to get bogged down with too many throw-ins in order to keep the game moving so I tell parents to simply kick the ball back into the field of play if it rolls in their area. The kids rarely notice and just play on.

This may happen 10 times in a game. Watching it happen, I’m reminded of God’s grace as referred to in Ephesians 2:8-9:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

In life, I kick the ball out of bounds constantly. Too often I’m quick to offer an unkind word. Too many times my attitude isn’t right. I’m too busy…I’m in a hurry…I’m not the right guy for the job…someone else will take care of it right? I’m selfish and I’m stubborn. All too frequently, I’m trying to fit God into my day instead of the other way around. I’m mean geez I’ve got so much to do…

Thankfully He is there. Thankfully, time after time He is willing to forgive me. Thankfully, I’m still His kid.

Thank you God for being there when I’m on the field of life and kicking the ball out of bounds every few minutes. I’m grateful that, like parents in a Pre-K soccer game, You are willing to kick the ball back onto the field when I mess up and allow me to “play on”.

Ed Rivers
Recreation Director
Johns Creek Baptist Church

5 Comments. Leave new

  • Beautifully said!

  • Your message speaks to all of us in the game of life. Every day we need God to let us kick the ball back. I’m so thankful for that!

  • So, so true, Ed! We can definitely relate as we watch our little grandson play in this league on Saturday mornings and see how much fun he has! Our favorite part is watching the coaches and players kneel in prayer before each game! Setting the perfect example……

  • Ed, that message was timely. Thank you!!!

  • Aren’t we glad God doesn’t keep score too? I am sure we all ‘foul’ more than we’d like to admit, but He is there to keep us and the life ‘in play’! Well said Ed!!


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