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Posted on on July 11, 2011

Rangers' Baseball Fan Reached Too Far

It was a tragedy. What should have been all good and fun turned out to be a nightmare. Reaching for something that could become a talking piece for years to come turned into the reach of death.

A reach for baseball memorabilia turned into a horrific fall and a painful memory. A father and son travelled three hours to attend a Texas Rangers' game in Arlington.Along the way they stopped to purchase a new glove in the hopes of catching, from the bleachers, one of those 5¼-ounce orbs made of rubber, cork, yarn and leather – a souvenir for life.

Rangers' star outfielder Josh Hamilton heard a man from the stands shouting: "Hamilton, how about the next one?" Hamilton got the next one and tossed the foul ball towards the father and his six year old boy dressed as a Ranger fan. Like any good father would do, 39 year-old firefighter Shannon Stone reached out for the ball. Leaning hard against the left field railing, he reached too far - tumbling over the rail, dropping 20 feet to the concrete floor below.

The story is tragically sad. Paramedics immediately responded. Mr. Stone was conscious at first. "Y'all need to check on my son," he said. But then he suffered a fatal heart attack and died later enroute to the hospital.

Was Shannon Stone reaching for the ball or for his son Cooper? It seems in reaching for the ball, he was really reaching for Cooper. Like a model father, he would go to any lengths to delight his son. The reach was a legitimate one, well-intentioned and motivated by love for his son but so sadly, the extraordinarily happy moment of 'the reach' was interrupted by tragedy.

From a life lessons perspective we should apply this story to our own lives. We all reach for things in life – sometimes physically but more often intellectually and emotionally. Some reach for financial success while others reach for celeb status. Some reach hard after pleasure – stretching themselves for the latest entertaining activity. Sometimes the reach is beyond limits and they suffer the consequences. Others reach with such determination they lose their balance in life and the fabric of their lives unravels and they fall.

Have you ever thought of 'your reach' in life as that of a child standing on tip-toes reaching for the biggest glistening bubble floating tantalizingly close – almost within your grasp. You make one big attempt to reach it and when you open your hands you have nothing more than a wet disappointment.

What are you stretching to reach in life? What are you leaning over the rails to get? What do you have your eye on? What is the focus of your mind? Are you 100% confident that if or when you get it, you will finally be satisfied and fulfilled? Have you ever thought of what a tragedy it would be if you spent your life reaching for something that was less important than what was most important for you to have?

There is nothing more important in anyone's life than to seek for a happy relationship with their Creator God. In the final analysis, God has the last word. To ignore God in life, while you reach after many other things, is a self-destructive and eternally damning strategy. No one can afford not to reach after God – not to seek after God. To do so is short-sighted and will end disastrously.

The Bible is clear about reaching out for the Lord while you still have the opportunity to do so. Today you can find Him. Today He is near. There will be a time when all opportunities to have Him personally will be over – when He will no longer be near – but rather so far away He will always be out of reach.

"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near."
(Isaiah 55:6)

Some would like to think they have Him in their range of vision even though He is not in focus. Until He is your singular focus and pursuit, you will never find Him.

"You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart."
(Jeremiah 29:13)
"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these (other) things will be added to you..."
(Matthew 6:33)
Jesus warned people that eventually a day would come when they would seek Him. They would realize then Who He was and what He could have done for them and what a tragic mistake they made by not reaching for Him and embracing Him. He said to them: "You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come."
(John 7:34)

"Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able."
Luke 13:24

If you reach for Christ today and seek Him with all your heart, you WILL find Him or in other words, you will get Him – you will have Him. He will be your possession – yours forever.

Whoever has the Son has (eternal) life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
(1John 5:12)





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