Following God: A Challenging Illustration

Today, I offer a different kind of post—a sermon/teaching illustration that I pray will challenge you to follow God with more abandon.

When Pam and I lived in Ohio, our neighbors’ young son was named Charlie. One day, I heard a knock on the door, followed by Charlie’s voice asking Pam, “Can Mr. Chuck come out and play?” I had some time, so I agreed to spend some time with this little guy.

Charlie was pumped because he had just received a new whiffle ball and bat. “Here’s what we do, Mr. Chuck. I’ll stand back here,” he said, “you throw the ball, and I’ll hit it.” I threw the first pitch, Charlie swung, and he missed the ball by a foot. I then threw the second pitch, and Charlie missed again. The third pitch was no better – Charlie missed worse than ever.

By this point, he was exasperated – at me! He picked up the ball, fired it back to me, and yelled in his young voice, “Mr. Chuck, you’re doin’ it wrong!”

“What do you mean that I’m doing it wrong, Charlie?”

His answer: “Mr. Chuck, you’re supposed to be throwing the ball where I’m swinging the bat!”

I laughed at Charlie’s answer, and I still laugh inside when I remember that day. What occurred to me days later, though, is that sometimes we treat God the same way. We’re willing to follow Him as long as His plans meet ours, as long as what He demands fits inside our own box – as long as He’s pitching the ball where we’re swinging the bat.

That’s not the way it works, however.

The Almighty God, the Creator of the world, the Ruler of the universe does not adjust His pitching to where we’re swinging the bat. We’re the ones who must make the adjustments; we follow God and do whatever He demands, even if His plans stretch us.

Here are three ways to make sure you’re following God well with this insight in mind:

  1. Give God a blank check. Don’t put parameters on location or role or salary or authority. Give God your life, and let Him fill in the blanks on your check. Then, adjust as needed to swing your bat where God’s pitching. If you want to read more about why blank checks matter, take a look at this post: 8 Reasons to Give God a Blank Check.
  2. Ask God, “Where in my life am I waiting for You to adjust Your pitching before I follow You with all my being?” Even if you discover only a small area where you’re not following His plans fully, turn from that wrong. Bad choices about “small things” often lead to bad choices about big things.
  3. Don’t get frustrated with God’s plans for you. We sometimes speak as if following God is an unwelcomed chore (e.g., we talk about “surrendering” to God’s will, as if we just give up in defeat and begrudgingly accept His plan). If you want to follow God well, make the adjustments to your swing that you need to make. That’s the only way you’ll get hits that make any eternal difference.

Let us know if we might pray for you as you follow God.


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