Larry and Stanley
They walked into the bowling ally wearing matching bowling uniforms. Larry’s suit was green with gold strips; his personal bowling shoes were also green and gold. He pulled his custom green with gold flecked bowling ball with his name engraved in gold letters across it, out of the his bowling ball bag that matched his outfit. Stanley’s bowling uniform was equally cool. Except his uniform and bowling shoes were gold with green highlights. His ball was also gold with flecks of green and his name was also engraved on it. They didn’t need to rent shoes or borrow a ball like everyone else instead they simply got a lane and started practicing. They always practiced before they played a real game.
Stanley was the first to go. He stood on all the right dots and lined himself up with the correct arrow. He started his bowl, 1 2 3 and away the ball went right over the correct arrow and between the 1 and 2 pins for a strike. Larry gave Stanley a high five and made his first practice bowl. He stood on the right dots and aligned himself with the correct arrow. He started his bowl, 1 2 3 and away the ball went right over the correct arrow and down the lane. Striking between the 1 and 2 pins for a strike. They bowled 10 perfect frames for practice before they played for real.
Before they began to play their real game Larry and Stanley rented a locker. Then they changed out of their bowling uniforms. They rented some bowling shoes and picked out balls from the rack like everyone else. Finally they put all the custom bowling gear into their locker and started to play a “real game.” They looked around to see how everyone else was bowling. Instead of their perfect games they bowled average games like everyone else
At the end of the day they walked out of the bowling alley looking like everyone else you couldn’t tell the difference. It was only during practice that put on their custom bowling uniforms and shoes. It was only during practice that they used their special bowling balls. It was only during practice that they used their best bowling moves to bowl strikes of to make a spare from a difficult split. But they hide all that talent, their uniforms and balls when they played for real
Why on earth would someone do that?
We may know the answer better than we want to admit. Like Larry and Stanley every week we practice our Christianity. On Sunday we come to church in our nice shoes, nice suits and personalized Bibles. We know all the right answers to the questions, we know all the right moves when it is time to pray, we know all the songs in the books and to be quiet during communion. We have no problems looking like and living the Christian life during practice.
But when we wake up on Monday practice is over and it is time for the “real game.” We dress like everyone else. We drive to work and get angry with the slow guy like everyone else. We leave our personalized Bible at home so it won’t get lost. We forget to pray. We forget to read our Bible. We leave our Christian life at the church door at practice and live the “real game” like everyone else.
If you are terribly offended by this story GOOD. You should be. Even if you are not as extreme as Larry and Stanley we are all tempted hide our Christianity in some ways at sometimes. The challenge I want to leave you with is to never hide. We are called to be light to a dark world and no one ever puts a light under a bowl. That is just silly. Instead we put lights out where all can see then.
Be a light during the real game of life not just at practice.