Drawing lessons from Big Red Machine memories

Published 2:49 pm Saturday, November 2, 2019

Ah, do you remember these?

The fall classic finds itself in the history books this year, but I can’t help looking back with fondness at the taste, the smell and the feel of Octobers past when Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine rolled through my young life.

I remember also when I first became aware of the entire 1975 World Series being available on DVD. When I discovered this treasure, I must admit that I was a bit disappointed to learn that it carried a pretty hefty price tag. For those of you who know me and read much of anything I write, you know a few things to be true.

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No. 1, I like coffee, and I like it a lot. No. 2, I’m quite thrifty. So, with the price tag staring at me like a mean look from Sparky Anderson, I pushed the idea of owning the DVD set out of my mind for a season.

Sometime later when the price came down and Terri approved the purchase, I found myself the proud owner of the entire 1975 World Series between the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Red Sox.

The only problem I have had is that I couldn’t find the time to sit down and watch the entire 1975 World Series between the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Red Sox. But when I finally did, it was wonderful. And to my surprise, there was an added bonus. As I watched the first game begin, I began to remember what life was like for me back then.

Thoughts I hadn’t had in years came back to me. Memories of where I was when I watched the games, the make and model of television we had in our home. The life of being a kid again even surfaced for the first time in I don’t know when. Now don’t let this concern you, I’m not off to one of those fantasy baseball camps in Florida. That would be painful in a number of ways. I have however enjoyed some wonderful reminiscing.

This experience makes me think of what Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus regarding our past.

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worked in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” 

Looking back on our past with the eyes of a believer in Jesus Christ is something to behold. We are no longer what we were, our future has hope and joy awaiting us.

Remember what Paul wrote to the church at Philippi in regard to the past is worth remembering…. don’t focus on the past but look ahead to what God has set before you. You may however ask the question, what is there that’s good is the past? And what good can we glean from it? Let’s consider a few things we can benefit from in remembering our past.

First, we can look back and celebrate what the Lord has brought us from. For many of us it’s a blessing to think about what the Lord has delivered us from. I don’t recommend dwelling in our past, but we can be thankful we aren’t there anymore.

Secondly, by looking back we can learn much. By remembering what we have done, we learn a few things we don’t want to do again. It’s an old country boy law I believe to be true, you don’t learn a thing the second time you’re kicked by a mule.

Sometimes we, as Christians, benefit by stopping along life’s road and taking a long look back. It might have been a winding and steep mountain we’ve climbed, but we can clearly see how God directed us by His faithfulness.

When we face difficulties we sometimes forget God’s past faithfulness. We see only the detours and the dangerous path. But look back and you will also see the joy of victory, the challenge of the climb, and the presence of your traveling companion who has promised never to leave you nor forsake you.

I believe it was F.B. Meyer who said, “Don’t waste your time waiting and longing for large opportunities which may never come. But faithfully handle the little things that are always claiming your attention.” When the time comes and we find ourselves in the sunset days of our life we can look back with fond memories knowing we have been faithful to the one who has made all the difference to us… Jesus. Another memory just flashed across my mind, the old Statler Brothers line, “Ah, do you remember these?”

Tim Throckmorton is the Midwest Director of Ministry for the Family Research Council