Try cricket to learn
how a convert feels

The first and only time I've ever played cricket was a disaster. Everything seemed weird: the bat was flat on one side with a narrow handle; there was no home plate, only three stakes ("wickets") pounded into the ground; the familiar diamond of first, second, and third - all three were missing.

I didn't have to worry about where to run. As I cocked to swing, my bat hit the wicket, an automatic out. I felt out of place, frustrated, and tense. I felt that I could do nothing good. It was horrible. I was only a liability to my team.

When the young man was preparing to battle the giant, the king offered him his own armor. "I can't wear this," David said. "I'm not used to it." He felt the same way trying to wear Saul's armor as I felt playing cricket: awkward, uneasy, weird.

Being a new Christian is a strange game with unknown, seemingly nonsensical rules. The songs are unfamiliar. Everyone turns to the passage in three seconds, while you search and search, finally giving up. Even some of the preacher's terms - propitiation, licentiousness, Ebenezer - may be gibberish. Former playing fields are now out of bounds. Former friends are now on the opposite team. It can make you tense and frustrated.

What can we do to make our new Christians feel like they're part of the team? We can explain things to them. We can show them how it's done. We can teach them how to use their Bible and concordance. We can take them with us to demonstrate how a Christian faces different situations. We can convince them that their fumbling around is no problem to us. We can pray with them and for them.

If I practiced a lot and if my teammates were tolerant and willing to instruct and encourage, I could learn cricket. The same things are necessary to become skilled at the Christian walk. Babes in Christ, welcome! Keep working at it. We'll hang in there with you. You're all winners!

—Steve Singleton