Mississippi News

Lynn Jones: Beware of the balk

By Lynn Jones

When I served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Booneville, each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:00 AM, I taught New Testament Survey or Old Testament Survey at Northeast Mississippi Community College. After I was through with the classroom, I turned it over to Ray Scott who taught Baseball Theory. One day when I came to class, I ran across some of Ray’s notes on the board. He had written on the board: “Thirteen ways to balk.” That line intrigued me. In baseball a “balk” is an illegal motion made by the pitcher when a runner is on base. I never dreamed that there were 13 ways of doing it. When I asked Ray about it, he gave me a printout with the 13 ways that a pitcher can balk. I would share them here, but I must confess that I can’t remember them all.

Lynn Jones

When I was growing up on the farm, we didn’t play much baseball. Whenever we used the word “balk,” we used it in a different way. We used it to describe what a horse sometimes did. When a horse refused to go somewhere you wanted him to go, we said that he “balked.” We had an old plow horse named “Red Mare,” and whenever I tried to ride her, she would cooperate just enough to get the feed that I offered as a bribe. When I was riding her, she hated to cross a wooden bridge. When she came to a bridge, she would often refuse to cross it, and I did not have enough authority to make her do it. She would “balk” on me.

Sometimes people “balk” on the Lord. For instance, the Lord told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach to the city. Jonah refused to go. He “balked” on the Lord. Instead of going to Nineveh, he went in the opposite direction and boarded a ship for distant Tarshish. The Lord didn’t take kindly to Jonah’s refusal and had to enroll him in a short course in a fish’s belly in the bottom of the sea before he began to see the wisdom of going in the direction God wanted him to go. In the Book of Acts, God instructed Ananias to go talk to Paul in Damascus. Ananias initially balked on God about carrying out that assignment until God explained about Paul’s great encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus.

A father said that his 6-year-old son got a dog for his birthday. He added, “We plan to send him to obedience school. If it works on him, we are also going to send the dog.” God does not take kindly to our “balking” on Him and His instructions. He has a way of sending us to obedience school in life. May God help all of us be more obedient to Him!

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: kljones45@yahoo.com.

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