Bowling has been an American past time since it's beginning. I read that as early as the pre-Civil War era German soldiers were playing the sport outdoors in it's modern day style using ten pins. There are very few people who can say they've never bowled. Although bowling is not as popular as it used to be there are still leagues forming and people spending the weekend trying to bowl those strikes!
So, you may be wondering why I am talking about bowling. Well, the other day as I was talking to a friend of mine I was hit with this wonderful analogy concerning relationships and bowling! As you know, bowling has two main players -- the bowling ball and ten pins. It is the job of the bowling ball to make it's way down the alley and knock down as many of those ten pins as possible to score a strike.
If we look around us it is very easy to place almost every person we know in the two categories of ball or pin. I love this analogy because as a bowling ball I find myself facing pins every day. I tend to bowl people over with my personality...sometimes it is a good thing, other times it is hurtful. As a bowling ball I recognize that most pins are strong, they have their own ideas, there is always at least one leader amongst the pins (the head pin I mentioned earlier),and they like to take charge. But the common difference is that as strong as the pins might be they are always willing to allow other people, usually bowling balls but even other pins, intimidate them. They are not certain of their own strength. The pin convinces itself that the ball is stronger, the other pins are stronger, that the alley is just too slippery. So they give up, fall over waiting for that thing to pick them up, and never quite understand why there is always drama in their lives involving balls and other pins. The noise that is made when the ball hits the pins is evidence that when a ball and pins are together in the same room, there is going to be energy. As Christians we can harnass that energy to see something happen that is much more exciting and fun then the game of bowling, not to mention something that will outlast any bowling alley in the world. Using this analogy, I believe Jesus was a bowling ball but He understood the balance and consideration of the pins in his life (not pinheads) to create a dynamic that lead to the salvation of the world and the spreading of the Gospel. His teachings and His works at times bowled people over with strength but always lead to life giving outcomes. You see the bowling ball and the bowling pins serve a great purpose together...if the ball engages with the pins in just the right way, the bowler who is throwing the ball will benefit. Not to reduce God to an American past time, but just think of Him as a champion bowler and us as the bowling balls and pins. When we choose to use our abilities and the strength God has placed inside of us to benefit the Kingdom we bowl a perfect game. If you are a bowling ball, keep your aim straight with the intention of leading the group to a strike. If you are a bowling pin, don't be intimidated by that ball heading straight towards you...stand tall knowing that the ball's only intention is to make a strike for the bowler. If we can go at life with this attitude towards others we will accomplish so much for the Kingdom and see so many others join the league!! Now, let's go bowl some strikes!