Monday, February 24, 2014


When you were growing up did you ever play marbles? I'm thinking you have to be about my age, 60, or older to have done that. I had a bag of marbles when I was in grade school. My mom made it for me out of blue corderoy with a couple of shoelace draw strings at the top. I took it to school so I could play marbles during recess.

My marble bag had all of the usual marbles in it - cats eyes, agies, puries, "boulders" (the bigger diameter ones). All came with a varying number of chips taken out of them. Usually these scars came from the heavy-hitters on the marble circuit - steelies.

Steelies were powerful and packed quit a punch in the hands of a skilled shooter. As the name implies, these bad boys were made from steel. They may have been sphere-shaped and looked like marbles but they were really ball bearings, salvaged from some piece of junkyard equipment.

One day at the beginning of recess a large crowd of my marble-playing buddies, which probably number well in excess of four or five, gathered by the back door to the school. The were all talking excitedly and looking down at something one of my friends held in his hand, I hurried to see, shouldering my way through the crowd.

"Look at the size of that thing!!"

"Holy cow!!! That thing's huge!!"

One of my friends had brought in a steelie. A steelie the size of a baseball!! It was massive!!! He began challenging all comers. Some fools agreed and had their once-prized marbles crushed under the weight of something 20 times their marble's size. But not me boy! I wasn't about to lose any of my marbles to that thing!

This guy and his giant "marble" changed to whole atmosphere of the playground. No one felt like playing marbles anymore. There were shattered pieces of glass . . . everywhere!! And shattered lives as well, young men having their marble championship dreams literally shattered before their very eyes. But then, one day, everything changed.

Someone challenged the Mighty Steelie!!

Now in the game we played we basically took turns shooting at one anothers marbles. If you hit it and it moved their marble was yours. Well, this challenger tossed his marble out onto the playground in defiance of Goliath and it's owner.

Smiling, our "former friend" pulled his giant steelie out of his sagging marble bag. He took aim at the poor, trembling marble laying there in the dirt. Pumping his arm once, he let go of his massive weapon. We all watched in slow motion, our mouths hanging open, as this weapon of mass destruction arched its way across the Michigan sky. THUD!!

He missed!!!

Our friend picked up HIS marble now, It was HIS turn. He wound up before he threw just like Bob Gibson and then he let her rip. He struck the big steelie square, shattering his marble into a dozen pieces. But guess what. The big steelie had moved! Ever so slightly, almost imperceptibly, the big, bad Marble of Death had moved! It had been captured by our new hero!!

Our champion however was not happy. He didn't go over to his new prize to pick it up and taunt its former owner. Instead our friend knelt down and picked up the broken pieces of his former marble.

"She was my best shooter."

I learned much about sacrifice and selflessness that day. The act of one selfless friend basically saved recess for us all. Despite the odds our friend had overcome our enemy and won the day for all marble players everywhere - well, at least in Marion, Michigan.

We never saw that gigantic steelie again. The playground returned to normal once more. But our friend, the one who had saved the day by giving up his treasured shooter, never played again. Eventually we all stopped playing. But we never forgot what happened that day - one kids sacrifice saved our playground from millions of shattered dreams . . . and marbles. Well, . . . five or six kids dreams anyway.

When Jesus died on the cross He gave up his life here on earth, once and for all. He knew what had to be done and, even though He knew it would cost Him much, He did so willingly for the benefit of those He loved.

Each of us in this world has one marble - our lives. How are we going to use that marble . . . our lives. We could just waste it, pitting it against the evils of this world, sinning without repentance, not really caring what happens. Or we could live our lives for Jesus, offering our "marble" up to the One who sacrificed His life, His "marble", for ours.

Our "marbles" aren't much to look at. We're all dented and chipped. But in the hands of a hero, even the ugliest of marbles can make a difference. Offer yours to Him today . . . amd win!

"13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit." - 1 Peter 3:13-18

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