“You’re in our seats,” she said, not kindly.
She thought that Dave and I were sneaking into the nicer section at a minor league baseball game in Iowa, taking the more expensive seats that were rightfully hers.
She was right.
But it wasn’t completely our fault. Our son coaches for the team, so he left us two passes for our tickets. We were there last year and knew that family seats were behind home plate. As we headed that direction, Dave looked at our tickets. The word “Bleacher” was stamped on the side. Surely there was a mistake. The bleachers are not regular seats. They are cheap, crowded, aluminum platforms in the outfield.
We nabbed two empty seats in the handicapped section just before the rightful occupants asked us to move. I texted Andy’s wife. The same had happened to her, she said, and we were to “find the usher with the long hair” behind home plate; he would get us seats. He advised that we sit a couple of seats away from the scouts in that section. However, this night was “fireworks’ night, so it’s a sold-out crowd, so you might have to keep moving around.”
So not good!
Andy texted from the dugout that someone from upper management was in the scouts’ section and was excited to see Dave who had coached him years ago. Soon they were engrossed in conversation. I found an empty seat and prayed that I would not be publicly embarrassed by being told to move again.
Silly me. No sooner did a family boot Dave from his seat than he joined me, and we had the same fate… not once, not twice, but three times.
For a little background, I get sick to my stomach when I inconvenience someone. If an item doesn’t ring up at the checkout stand and people behind me are waiting. If I’m two minutes late. If I don’t press on the gas the second the light changes to green. So, the thought of people having to deal with me taking their seats puts me in orbit.
Crowds are always sympathetic to the rightful seat occupants who have to kick out some freeloaders—us!—who are too cheap to pay for the better seats.
I wanted to scream, “My son is a hitting coach for this team, and there’s been a mistake,” but I knew that Dave would head for the parking lot if I did. So, we slinked out of the seats with some feeble apology.
By now, the aluminum seats were crammed, so we tried the indoor restaurant. That took a special ticket. Maybe we could get a hotdog and stand by the dumpster and watch the game.
Bad idea. The food line was 50-60 fans long. We headed to the parking lot.
Andy met us after the game. “Dad,” he started, “because of your years in baseball, don’t you have a card that gives you VIP status at any ballpark in the country?” Dave’s answer stunned me. “I left it at home.” SAY WHAT?
All this time, we could have had the best seats in the house—perhaps even a suite—and Dave forgot to bring his benefit’s card? Dave had earned that perk but didn’t use it. The spiritual application should not go unnoticed.
In John 10:10b, Jesus promises something extraordinary: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Life to the full offers every awesome thing imaginable: joy, forgiveness, restoration, peace, healing–whatever we need.
If we are Christians, we are card-carrying members of God’s elite club. No one can kick us out. So, why don’t we understand what has been offered us? Why don’t we claim what is rightfully ours?
God has offered us a suite. Think about that the next time you are tempted to settle for the bleachers.