I’m a recent convert to the latest obsession called pickleball. Do you know of this?
Whether you are completely engrossed in this game or dabbling in it, no doubt you’ve heard of pickleball. It’s everywhere! There are huge tournaments now and championships. Some would say that it’s gaining momentum and will soon take over tennis.
Indeed, prior to our move out west, I had heard of pickleball. We have dear friends who LOVE pickleball and prioritize the game in their schedule. We’ve heard some of their glory stories and tales of woe as injuries have occasionally sidelined them. But did I have a desire to join them in this new found obsession?
Not at all. My belief was that pickleball was for old people who couldn’t play tennis any longer. My belief was that pickleball was a dumbed-down version of the real game of tennis!
For I played tennis. If I desired to play racquet sports again I would dust off my tennis gear and rejoin my tennis community. Try pickleball?
No, I don’t think so.
“You say to God, ‘My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in your sight.’ “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.”
Job 11:4, 7-9 NIV
That is until I moved into a community full of beautiful active people who love pickleball and wanted to share the love with me by inviting me to join them on our community courts. I did join them because I was bored and I wanted to meet some neighbors.
I had some real hurdles to overcome, which caused me to feel unworthy of being out there on the courts with them. I had never played . I didn’t know the rules. I had not a paddle or balls or bag.
But lovingly with constant encouragement several women coaxed me into participating. One offered me her spare paddle. She also offered to play as my partner so she could teach me the rules. She coached. I listened.
She set the example. I followed.
I learned. She applauded.
Even when my tennis belief system took over, she gently reminded me of the pickleball way. As evidence of complete conversion, on my birthday, the girls presented me with my very own pink pickleball bag, and my dear man gave me my very own paddle and sleeve of pink balls.
I was in. Converted. Completely dunked!
And as my mentor helped me, other pickleball players joined in to help and encourage me. This one disciple maker initiated a separate time for beginners to come out and play. And now this new congregation of afternoon pickleball players is just as well attended as the original morning faithful.
In my lifetime I’ve met untold numbers of beautiful sincere people who have added value, depth, and contrast to my own life experience. All of us are different in our beliefs because we’ve all experienced life’s good and bad through different filters. None of us are the same.
Yet, what I’ve gleaned in my life is that it is good to know people. It is good to sit at a table over a meal and hear people’s stories. It is good to join someone on a walk and listen to their views. It is good to rub shoulders with people of different beliefs.
It is good because Jesus did it. Jesus is our example. Jesus ate with, talked with, mourned with, and celebrated with people who didn’t believe in the one true God. He was okay with people who rejected Him as the Son of God and those who were mixing belief in Him with a lot of other deities.
Jesus is truth. We who are grafted into Him are secure in Him. His presence is enough to woo the lonely and the hurting. The Holy Spirit of God powerful enough to resurrect Christ from death is able to convert any set of beliefs.
I just have to lovingly invite you. Encourage. Include. Engage. Instruct and guide, but most of all listen. And pray! I have to trust God that He knows. His love is bigger. His purposes are greater. His plan to bring all people to Himself is better.
There are as many beliefs as there are fingerprints. Jesus is the One Way, the Truth, and the Life. He will make the way for all people of all beliefs to come and bend in His presence.
Eyes on Jesus and Shine,