A mentor told me once about an idea. It was a very simple framework about how to live life to its fullest.
This was ten years ago (I think), and it has not since left the room of my soul. Yeah, I forget about it sometimes, I broke it big time once. But it’s a truth, an idea that I’ve always held on to.
I was a college student at that time. One class afternoon break, he was teaching me a sort of formula about when is the right time of getting into a commitment with the opposite sex. My reaction was “There’s a formula to that?”. “Well, yeah.”, he said. “It’s like the rules of the game, baseball. After you’ve hit the ball, you’d have to go to each base accordingly starting from the first base, to the second and third, and back to the home base.” “There are these three bases that you’d have to reach in the correct order. Or else, the referee will call for a foul.”
I was very eager to listen. I mean, I don’t love baseball but I was at that time attracted to this girl. And come to think of it, I now understand the reason why he taught me about this “love-baseball-rule”.
During the summer of 1839, Abner Doubleday invented the game baseball.
To live a purposeful life, one should know first his purpose. Duh 😛 It’s just commonsense that is not common to many, I believe. And the best person to ask for the purpose of an invention is the inventor himself. Without the inventor, there is no invention. Without the creator, there is no creation. If God is not, then nothing is.
One has to know the inventor first. One has to acknowledge the creator of the creation. And even beyond that. The vital part here is not just knowing per se. It is the ‘being personally connected’ with this very personal creator, also known as God.
So, the first base is knowing the Inventor, or Master.
The goal of the baseball game is a complete run.
As how Rick Warren puts it, there are two paths of knowing one’s purpose. One of which leads to a dead-end. The first path is through speculation. A theory, a hypothesis, a guess. But, even the best guess is still what it is – a guess. The other path is through revelation. The inventor reveals it to his invention. The creator reveals it to its creation. You see, God is not a theory, a hypothesis. He is real. He is personal. And He wants to connect with His creation. One concrete pathway of revelation is the manual, also known as the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Another is through the counsels of the older sojourners.
The goal is to know the calling, or Mission. And this is the second base.
Baseball is a realm of complete transparency and total responsibility with your team.
Every person does with effort a worthwhile endeavor because one has a compelling reason to do it. To put it in its simplest form, we labor because we expect fruits from our labor. Fruits. In the same manner, God wants us to bear fruits. But, they are difficult to obtain alone. He puts us in a team. Friends. Families. Mate, and this is the third base.
So Master, Mission, and Mate. And for it be in its ideal state, it has to be in the ideal order.
The Ideal Order
Master, then Mission, then Mate. This is the ideal order. One has to know the Master first, who will then give one’s mission or calling, who will also then provide for the companion to accomplish them.
Mission, then Master, then Mate = Not ideal. Why? Well, how can one know his Mission when he doesn’t know yet the giver of the Mission?
Mate, then Master, then Mission = Not ideal. It is God who will provide for the right companion. How can one know his companion if He doesn’t know yet the provider?
Master, Mate, then Mission = Not ideal. The Mission can be likened to a roadmap. Without it, one is lost. It would be difficult to have a mate, but no direction yet. Not just one is lost, but another one will be tagged along.
For all other combinations, they are somewhere in the explanations above.
The Ideal Relationship
I believe God desires everyone to be in the ideal state. Just as He originally intended it to be. Adam and Eve’s relationship was a match made in Heaven, literally, and in the ideal order.
First, Adam acknowledged and had a close relationship with God. Then, God gave him his first mission – God settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. After that, God gave him the right companion.
God’s Goodness, Mercy and Grace
But, the road to this ideal relationship is narrow. I have friends who have obtain this in the ideal order. And, their relationships are really testaments of God’s goodness, mercy and grace.
Well, there are others who have not done so in the ideal order. Now, is it the end for them? Will they be condemned for the rest of their lives because they didn’t follow the love-baseball rule? Not so! Just as with baseball, yes, it’s a foul. There are and will be natural consequences. But it’s not the end of the game. Their relationships can still be testaments of God’s goodness, mercy and grace.
I knew God, but not that deep enough. Because if at those times I really knew and loved God, I would have not done such things. I rebelled and did not follow the love-baseball rule. Yeah, shame on me. I am not proud of it. Made our mistakes, inflicted hurts, suffered from its natural consequences.
After that, there’s nowhere else I could go. But just like a loving father, He was there waiting for His irresponsible child to come home. Said my piece and asked for forgiveness, repented, and surrendered. He restored us completely. He made our relationship a testament of God’s unconditional love, goodness, mercy and grace.
Final Piece on the Love-Baseball Rule
Just because one has obtained it, it does not mean he cannot lose it. Same with baseball, the goal is not just a one complete run. It’s a consistent, persistent and Almighty-trusting set of complete runs until the game is finished.
Love your Master, obey the Mission, be captivated by your Mate. Wash, rinse, repeat.
So, yeah. One has to fight the good fight of faith until his final breath.
*** My thoughts acquired from mentors, books, experiences, and other sources.