by Molly Audiss

Proverbs 1:5a  A wise man will hear, and will increase learning…

I have a confession to make.  I am a Chicago Cubs baseball fan.  I am not a Cubs fan because I am married to a Cubs fan (although I am); I am an authentic Cubs fan.  I try to either listen to the games on the radio as I work around the house, or watch them on T.V. with my husband and sons in the evening.  I look at the stats to see how they are doing in their division and in their league.  The funny part is that I did not grow up as a baseball fan.  If a baseball game came on T.V., I immediately turned the channel-how boring!  Years ago, my husband and I began watching the Cubs together, and now I am hooked!  I remember the second season I followed the Cubs, many of the players on the team had been traded to other teams.  I couldn’t believe it!  It was like part of my family was gone!  I didn’t know how common it was for baseball players to move from team to team.  I almost cried!

One summer we were visiting my husband’s family in Iowa.  My sister-in-law and I took our kids to the local McDonald’s for lunch.  While waiting in line, I picked up the sports section of a newspaper that was sitting on a table, and I looked to see if the Cubs had won their game the day before.  It wasn’t 30 seconds before the man in front of me noticed what I was doing and started a “baseball conversation” with me.  He was a Boston Red Sox fan, and he was big into baseball!  Next thing you know, the man in the next line joins in, and he was adamant about the St. Louis Cardinals.  I thought he might come unglued when he realized I was a Cubs fan (those two teams are big rivals.)  My sister-in-law looked at me in amazement, wondering if I caused I scene like this everywhere I go.  (I don’t, really!)

Is the point of this article to recruit ladies around the world to become baseball fans?  No.  Is it to show you how unusual it is for a girl to like sports?  No.  Here is the point.  When I began learning about something new, namely the game of baseball, it immediately opened up many doors for me in communication with others.  I cannot tell you how often people will come up to my husband and me while we are out on a date, and start a conversation with us, simply because he is wearing a Cubs shirt.  It is like an instant friendship- a shared interest.  I have been able to talk to so many people out soul winning, who would not have normally stopped to listen to me, because I could “talk sports” with them, and they felt comfortable around me.

I am not trying to recruit baseball fans.  I am saying that we should keep learning new things in our lives to keep ourselves interesting.  Try new things.  Don’t be a one-dimensional Christian.  If we are going to win souls to Christ (which is a  main purpose of our lives), we must be able to win souls to ourselves, first.  People will be much more willing to listen to the Gospel message if they feel that they share a common bond with us.

Knowing a little about many subjects and having many different likes makes for better relationships all around.  My husband has mentioned several times how much he enjoys the fact that I like baseball.  Our common interest brings us closer together.  Try to learn something about the topics that those you love enjoy most.  Mom, does your teen daughter like to text message on her cell phone?  Be willing to text and communicate with her in this way.  Is your neighbor an avid gardener?  Learn enough about gardening to strike up conversations with her that she will enjoy.  Have you heard the saying, “She is so heavenly minded, she is no earthly good”?  That shouldn’t be said about us as Christian ladies.  Of course we ought to love the Lord and enjoy talking about Him and His Word.  Each day we should speak about Jesus to our families and to strangers alike.  Our love for Him will make this a natural part of our lives.  But, even our own children will be driven away from us if we cannot connect with them on their level and join in their interests.  We must win their hearts first, before we will successfully pass on to them our standards and convictions.

I was never a tomboy growing up.  I liked girly things.  My sister and I would talk for hours about everything female!  I have three sons now- no daughters.  Do you know what most of my conversations are about with my kids?  Sports, video games, and guns. Let me tell you, these are not my favorite topics!  But running through the house, chasing my boys with a nerfed guns somehow makes them feel close to me, so I do it.

Read, read, read!  Learn new hobbies.  Add knowledge about various subjects all the time.  Stay interesting.  This will keep you young, and make people always want to be around you, which, in turn, will add so much to your ability to influence others.  Let’s always be learning, opening new doors for ourselves in ministry and in relationships.  Let it never be said by anyone who knows us that the Christian life is boring.  It is the most fun, exciting life there is!