This question was posed to my sons at baseball practice by a young man who noticed our Braves hats. Most folks from this area grow up pulling for the Reds. They responded immediately and in unison, “Because my dad loves the Braves!” As if to say, “Why else would we be Braves fans?”
The group of young men standing around turned to my boys with puzzled looks. You could tell they didn’t get it. It didn’t make sense to any of them, even those who pull for the Reds for the same reason. Why would anyone do something just because their dad does it?
The identity of a father or lack thereof is undeniable. Even more, Jesus came into the world to display for us the Father’s identity. In Him, by the presence and power of His Spirit, we cultivate this identity in our own lives. We begin to love what the Father loves. It’s this identity that marks us out in the world so that folks ask us at times, “Why do y’all do that?” Our response, “Because our Father loves it !”
What answer did I expect? We have spent 10 plus years talking about the real home run king, Hank Aaron. They know that as a kid Dale Murphy was my favorite player. (I’ve even taught them to twitch their bats the way he did.) We have watched Sid Bream slide across home 100s of times. The gritty ole switch hitting veteran, Chipper Jones, wouldn’t have been on their radar without me making sure they saw the beauty in his swing.
As I listened to my kids argue with their friends about how much better the Atlanta Braves are than the Cincinatti Reds, my heart swelled a bit. My only prayer is that one day there will be a similar discussion when someone asks them, “Now, why do you follow Jesus?”