Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Dear Linwood Family and Friends,
“The King Returns.”
Across the country – and especially in Northeast Ohio – the biggest news story of the week was Lebron James’ announcement that he was returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. That announcement thrilled countless people, although not everybody. I talked to someone Sunday who said, “It’s not that big of a deal.” I am sorry. You may think that it is silly that a sports star can have this kind of impact, but you cannot say that it is not a BIG DEAL! It is a HUGE DEAL economically – not just for the Cavs, but for parking lot attendants, and restaurant owners, and t-shirt makers, and sports writers, and on and on. It is a HUGE DEAL emotionally for the thousands upon thousands of sports enthusiasts throughout Ohio. It is a HUGE DEAL for those who care about the public image of Cleveland and Northeastern Ohio. It is a HUGE DEAL for those who have grown cynical about sports and super-star athletes. The best player in the world returns to his home town to seek to bring “home” the first championship the area has seen in 50 years.
I am well aware that the business aspects of this decision are highly significant. I am well aware that public statements don’t always reflect the inner heart. But, I also recognize that this announcement of Lebron has aspects and an impact that cannot be simply shrugged off. Home, family, forgiveness, and hope are all there is full view. The announcement and the explanation of that announcement set off emotions and reactions rarely witnessed on such a large public scale.
All of this got me thinking. Someday we, or if not us then our descendants, will witness the return of another King! To compare the return of King Lebron with King Jesus is, of course, an unfair comparison. However, Jesus himself often told stories about current events or situations, and then asked “How much more more?” when He told of the truths and dynamics of the Kingdom. With such a perspective, it may be helpful for us to consider the return of Lebron – and then the return of Jesus!
- When Lebron left Cleveland he signed a contract that allowed him to be a free agent in 2014, four years later. We all knew, when he left, that it was a possibility that four years later he could return. As each year passed, that possibility stayed alive. Yet, there were no guarantees. We, as fans could hope, but we knew that hope was wishful thinking. It’s fulfillment was a possibility, but so was its demise.
- When Jesus left this earth and ascended to the Father 40 days after His resurrection, He promised that He would return again. He did not say when that return would happen. He did say that there would be signs, but that no one would know for sure. Those who were His followers thought His return would be within days, or months, or at most a few years. Others through the years have predicted dates for His return, dates that have come and gone. Centuries have gone by and some have questioned whether or not Jesus’ return will ever happen. The time of His return is still a mystery to us, but one thing is certain, Jesus will return in glory. When that return will take place is unknown, but it will happen! This is not wishful thinking, it is the fulfillment of a promise.
- When Lebron made public his decision to return, it was not done with a nationwide TV special, but with a release of an “essay.”
- When Jesus came into our midst the first time, it was done quietly, in a way that most of the world missed. Except for an innkeeper, a few shepherds, and the magi, few knew that anything of significance had happened. When Jesus returns, we are told that it will happen in a way that everyone notices. it is not going to be quiet; it is not going to be subtle. It will take place in such a way that everyone knows that The King has returned. How that will happen, I have no idea.
- When Lebron made his announcement the people of Northeast Ohio were thrilled. The people in Miami (as well as those in Dallas, Chicago, and Houston) were not thrilled. His return to Cleveland identified those who were winners and those who were losers.
- When Jesus returns those who know Him and love Him will rejoice. Those who don’t know Him will panic. The truth will be clear. The truth and righteousness of the Kingdom will be made clear to the whole world. All the world will be clearly identified by those who belong to Jesus and those who have bet their lives on another “team.”
I love basketball. I love watching Lebron James play. I love that Lebron is going to be playing for Cleveland. But I also know that Lebron’s return to Cleveland is but a tiny taste of what it will be like when the time has come for Jesus to return to this earth and bring His Kingdom work to a completion. I have no idea when that return is going to be. It could be tomorrow or it could be 1000 years away. This I do know: It is closer now than it has ever been!
Come, Lord Jesus!
Blessings in Christ’s Name,
Hu Auburn, Linwood Park Pastor
P.S. – Check out the “Faith and Family Blog.” Go to The FamilyTailor.org or click on “Faith and Family Blog” in the above menu bar. Let me know if you find it to be engaging and helpful. – Hu
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