There is a memory that I have held on to for a long time. It's one of the earliest memories from my life. Let me take you there.
I'm five years old and it's early spring. The sun is shining and it's warm outside. I'm standing beside my house holding a long yellow plastic bat. My dad is standing about ten feet away holding a white plastic ball that has holes all over it. You guessed it, a wiffle ball). My dad is teaching me how to play baseball. He asks me if I'm ready and then takes a step and lofts the ball underhanded. I swing and miss. He offers me advice on how to hold the back. Choke Up. Swing earlier. Keep my eye on the ball.
He pitches again. I swing and smack the ball over his head. He claps and tells me that I did it perfect. I did a great job. He goes and grabs the ball and we repeat the process a few times. We keep going until I hit one that soars over his head. He tells me good job again and goes to pick up the ball.
Except this time there is a man walking down the street who is watching us. The following is a conversation I'll never forget.
"Hey there" - the man said.
"Hey" - my dad responded
"You guys playing baseball huh?"
"Yeah we're just learning" - my dad replied.
"Well, he can certainly smack that ball"
"Yes he can" my dad replied laughing.
At that moment I knew something. I knew that my dad was proud of what I had done. You could see it in the way he smiled from ear to ear. You could hear it in his voice. My dad was proud of me. It was the best feeling in the world. A couple of years ago my dad wrote me an email that laid out how proud he was of me. That same feeling came rushing over me. How great is it to know that someone feels that way?
We long for someone to be proud of us. We long for our lives to matter. There are so many times that we work and work and work so that someone will be proud of what we've done. And so many times that affirmation doesn't come. As a result we are let down and after a while we don't even try anymore.
We spend our lives doing nothing all the while still hoping to make someone proud.
Fast forward 24 years. I still long to make someone proud. Everything that I do in my life I hope and pray that it makes God proud of me. I long for the day when I stand before Him and He looks at me and says "Well done my good and faithful servant." It's been a long road to get here. It's been a road full of mistakes as well as glories. I want my Father in Heaven to be proud of me. I want my life to count for something more.
I want your life to count for something more. I want you to stand before God and hear Him say that He's proud of the life you gave to follow Him.
I know that sometimes life keeps you from this.
Some of you are too busy to follow God.
Some of you are too angry at God.
Some of you have never realized that your life could matter.
Some of you have never realized that the creator of the Universe could know you much less be proud of you.
The truth is that He knows you more than you'll ever know. He loves you more than you ever know and He desperately wants to be proud of you.
He desperately wants to be proud of you.