Some things are just old. Crusty. Smelly. Kinda saggy.
At best these things are historic, but at worst they’re outdated and ineffective.
Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, is one of those things. Disclaimer: I LOVE Wrigley Field and have spent the last two days there. I’m going to a White Sox/Rays game tonight on the other side of Chicago which will be far superior in baseball quality but will pale in overall comparison to the Wrigley experience.
The first day I was at Wrigley this week, they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first professional baseball game played within the Friendly Confines. The fanfare was awesome. The ballpark was decked out like you wouldn’t believe. It was almost like Theo forgot the Cubs were in last place and decided to just throw a party anyway.
Far and away the best moment of the celebration was just before the game started. The Cubs brought back all these iconic legends from past Cubs and Chicago Bears teams. (The Bears played 50 years of football games at Wrigley).
I was 30 rows away from the real life versions of the statues that reside outside the stadium.
Cubs Legends included “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks, “Sweet Swingin'” Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, and Andre Dawson.
Bears Legends included Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers.
Then the Cubs announced someone as a “legend” who absolutely baffled me: Ryan Dempster.
Dempster pitched for the Cubs for parts of 9 seasons, sometimes as a their closer, other times as the staff ace. However, he was an underwhelming 67-66 as a Cub. An above-average MLB pitcher? Yes. A Cubs all-time legend? NO.
I actually got to meet Ryan Dempster yesterday. He was a Ranger for a few months in a playoff push down the stretch so I was excited to get to talk with him for a brief moment. He lived up to his potential as one of the “good guys” in baseball, a fan favorite even. But he’s not a Cubs legend.
Then it hit me as the Cubs choked away a 3-run lead in the 9th: This day was about past successes.
The Cubs are doing in baseball what so many of us are doing in our relationships, work lives, and faith: living in the past.
As the Cubs legends announced got closer and closer to modern day, they got less and less impressive.
Is the same true for you?
In your marriage: Are you living off past successes? That one great anniversary date instead of a regular date night? Have you stopped presently investing in the most important relationship in your life? It’s true: You May Never Get Married, and that’s okay. However, if you are married you have a great responsibility to your spouse to work toward cultivating a thriving marriage. Remember: Nobody Owes You Happiness. Don’t live in the past.
In your work: Are you living off past successes? No matter who you are, people are depending on you to succeed in the work place. If you’re married, your family’s livelihood depends on you doing well and working hard in the present, not in the past. If you’re single, there might be a future family depending on your present success sometime in the future. If you’re a Christian, the Gospel can greatly benefit when you succeed in the present, not just in the past. Can you imagine what the global Church could do if all of its members got a raise? No matter what age or stage of life you presently find yourself, don’t live in the past. Work hard in the present. See: Chop Wood, Carry Water.
In your faith: I realize this one doesn’t apply to everyone, and maybe our “living in the past” attitude as Christians in part of the reason why. Who would want to be a part of something that’s not actively a part of your life? Churches should never say…”Well this is just always the way we’ve done it in the past.” Christians should always be able to give a reason for their present hope in Jesus, not just something that happened at camp one time a bunch of summers ago. Is your faith stuck in the past? Do you need to reconnect with a local church? Do you need to shake up your own pursuit of God? Do whatever it takes. If you don’t know what it takes, ask someone you trust. You can also start here: 6 Questions Every Christian Needs to Answer.
Don’t be like the Cubs. Don’t get stuck in the past, only celebrating past successes.
How are you tempted to live in the past?