Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12: 1-2 (NIV)

Fall has now officially arrived. You can feel it in the air.

We began to notice a drop in temperatures around the nation while the hours of daylight in each day started to decline. The signs of fall were noticeably all around us. Leaves began to change from green to glorious breath-taking unimaginable colors in various places around the country.

The hopes of college football seasons began to heat up, and cool down, in stadiums everywhere. Animals of all shapes and sizes began to scurry around preparing and stocking up for the colder temperatures just around the next turn of the calendar, when food sources will be harder to come by.

And major league baseball ended the regular season, ran through the playoffs headed to the best tradition of all marking that fall has arrived—the World Series. And every year we know that fall is here—with the advent of the World Series of Major League Baseball which began last Tuesday, with the Houston Astros of the American League, facing the Los Angeles Dodgers of the National League.

Fall is here. A tradition continues. But in our home fall is marked by a wonderful event which arose out of a less-than-noble moment which only God could have purposed and put together.

I’ve shared it before, but it’s worth sharing again. It was 1967 and it was the day of the first game of the World Series. Lynda and I had been married a few months earlier in June, with a brief honeymoon made up of a four day trip along the east coast from Florida back to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. I was in the United States Air Force—and Dover was our assignment for the next two years.

The long-suffering, at the time, Boston Red Sox, were about to square off against the mighty St. Louis Cardinals. World Series games played back then were day games, and the supervisor in the Radar shop at the Air Force base, fearing that my attention was elsewhere, and perhaps envisioning a situation in which my inattention to electronics repair might negatively impact one of our high-flying aircraft, gave me the afternoon off to go home to watch the game.

Before driving off base, I stopped at the base grocery store and bought a six-pack of Hamm’s beer. It was a period when I should have recognized the perils alcohol inflicts upon individuals, families and the community; and it was before I stopped drinking alcohol thirty years ago. The six-pack cost eighty-five cents and at that time it was more than our budget could afford.

So driving home to watch the game, with a brown paper bag of beer on the seat next to me, a feeling of guilt began to overwhelm me. And so when a florist shop popped into view on the road-side ahead, I stopped, bought two yellow roses for one dollar, all wrapped nicely in green tissue paper with a yellow bow. Feeling a little better, I headed home with my bribe and brown bag of beer, yet feeling a bit worse realizing I had now spent one-dollar and eighty-five cents which we couldn’t afford.

Lynda rushed to greet me at the door, and all she “noticed” were the two yellow roses I pushed toward her face with the greeting “Happy World Series!” She smiled, never said a word about the beer, and in typical fashion, my Red Sox lost game one to Bob Gibson’s record setting performance of seventeen strikeouts.

The tradition of the World Series yellow roses, now a dozen given on the first day of each year’s fall classic, has continued without blemish for fifty years, despite its shaky start. It was her smile, flashed a thousand times thereafter through the years, which told me she always got it all and loved me. It began an annual tradition marking a lifetime commitment to a precious gift from God.

Traditions like that, no matter their beginnings, are to be cherished and nurtured, reminding us and others of a higher, more majestic view of life and the dreams for our lives God has placed in our hearts. Traditions grounded in eternal things, not temporal. Traditions based upon winning lives, not just winning. Traditions meant to impact others, not worried about self and our own image.

Traditions established on lasting memories of relationships & friendships built in both the tough and good times, rather than on a shallow collection trophies gathering dust in cases only taking up space. Traditions especially involving the most lasting of all relationships—between us and God and His Son.

Yet too often today our lives are measured for success by the size of our bank accounts, the positions of power we hold, or the status we have attained in society, while family and friends who need us are ignored rather than lifted. We too often lose sight of the truth, foundations and ideals which are traditions of lasting value—doing things for others, for good and ultimately for His glory.

We can do better. We need to do better. We need to stand for more, now.

What’s really important in life? World Series roses? Absolutely!

But also look to Him for all the other eternal things that really matter in life.

In His Name—Scott