Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Are You Coming To Jesus Tonight"1 (Lyrics)
Several years ago, my husband and I attended the BNP Paribas Open Tennis Tournament in Indian Wells, California, USA. While we enjoyed watching great tennis players perform, it was the supporting players, the ball boys and ball girls, who intrigued me.
These young teenagers go through a rigorous selection and training process. They have to know the game of tennis well, be fit, and have stamina and good ball handling in order to make the game flow smoothly, without unnecessary time lags.
Poised for action, a ball kid on each side of the net and close to it, would kneel, one knee up, keeping an eye on the ball, springing up and capturing it the second that it rolled out of play.
In each corner of the court, close to the wall, four more ball kids were positioned. They stood at ease, but attentive, hands behind their backs. They gathered up the balls that were carefully rolled in their direction. Another of their jobs was to manage the balls, held unobtrusively behind their backs. When the tennis player was ready to serve and might nod or look towards the corner, a ball kid's arm in the air indicated a ball available to be bounced to the player. The ball kids had to be alert to their every move.
Psalm 123:2 – We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal. (NLT)
I learned so much about our relationship with God by watching the ball kids.
Just as the ball kids must understand tennis and undergo training, as Christians our training is to study and meditate on His Word to understand God's character and how He operates. I love the first part of the morning for this. I can gather all my thoughts, which are scattered in different directions, and centre them on Him.
To retrieve balls smoothly and efficiently, the ball kids can't lose their focus. Likewise, when we have a relationship with God, we must be alert. We have to make God our priority and not be distracted from His goals for us. With so many options available to us, it's very easy to veer off the path of serving the Lord. It's so easy to take large chunks of time — even a few minutes here and there — doing things that may not be bad in themselves, but not God's best for us.
To get signals from God, we must be in position, as are the ball kids. Maintaining our relationship with God is essential. We have to stay close to Him, looking to Him. When we are in tune with God, it's easier to get those thoughts and nudges that tell us what we're supposed to do. As the ball kids watch for signals like nods from tennis players, so we must keep alert for opportunities to serve Him, through our interactions with the people that we encounter. He is so willing to pour out His mercy, His lovingkindness on us.
A Bill and Gloria Gaither song, I will serve Thee, because I love Thee, proclaims our motivation for serving God. Let's do it!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that we can be in relationship with You. Thank You that You speak to us. Help us to be alert to receive the signals that You send us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.