The second year he played baseball Kyle was offered a spot on the all-star team. He was sitting beside me when I got the call from the coach. He said, “Ken, I would like to have Kyle on the all-star team. I know you are religious and I just wanted you to know that if I pick Kyle for the all-star team he will have to be willing to play on Sunday. No pressure, but I need to know if Kyle can do it. If not I will need to call someone else.”
“Guy, let me talk with Kyle and I will call you back.”
I got off the phone and you could see the excitement in Kyle’s eyes. “Dad, do you think I could play? The games wouldn’t start until church is over, would they?”
“Let’s think about that, son,” I said. “I want you to read a passage in the Bible and I want you to tell me what you think we should do. Go get your Bible and open it up to Isaiah 58:13. Read those verses.”
A few minutes later he came back with his Bible and sat down on the floor at the foot of my chair and began to read;
“If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
When he finished reading, I said, “What do you think you should do, Kyle?” He looked disappointed and said, “I shouldn’t play, should I?”
I said, “Kyle, let me tell you a story. There once was a great runner in Scotland. His name was Eric Liddell. His parents were missionaries in China. We was very fast, so fast he was chosen to represent his homeland, the country of Scotland, in the Olympic Games. This was a great, great honor.
When it came time for the time trials they were scheduled on the Lord’s Day. Eric Liddel believed that running on Sunday would violate the forth commandment. He could not do it. Not for fame, or money, not even for his country. He told them he could not. They put pressure on him. They said it was his patriotic duty. Many thought he was a fool, but he was a man of conviction.
His strength was short distances but because he refused to run on the Lord’s Day he was asked to run a longer distance. He hadn’t trained for the distance it was four times as long, but he ran and qualified to complete in the Olympic games.
Just before the race he was handed a slip of paper with a quotation from I Samuel which simply said; “Him that honoreth me I will honor.” He ran. He had honored God’s law and God honored him before all the watching world. He won the gold medal for beloved Scotland. He won the admiration of the nation.
He went on to speak all over Scotland of Christ to groups of young people. Later he served as a missionary in China.
“Kyle, we can play baseball six days a week, but lets agree that we will always keep the Lord’s Day special. I believe that if you will honor God like Eric Lidell did, God will honor you.”
We called the coach and thanked him for the honor, but turned him down. The next year Kyle had the best year ever. He was the key hitter and the key pitcher for his team. At the end of the year the coach of the All-Star Team called and said, “If I promise not to ask Kyle to play on Sunday will you let him pitch for the All-Star team this year?”
“I’m sure he would love to do that,” I said.
When I got off the phone I told Kyle and after he spent some time jumping around the room we remembered the story of Eric Liddell and we stopped to thank God.
Those summer nights the whole family enjoyed watching Kyle play under the lights in the crisp uniform of the all-stars. It is a fond memory to all of us to this day. On the Lord’s Day he was in his white shirt sitting with the family in worship.
Today Kyle and his wife are serving full-time in Christian ministry and I’m glad I taught him to honor the Lord and the Lord’s Day. It makes me sad to think how may thousand of children are spending the Lord’s Day
Riverfront Character Inn
June 13, 2006