A blue pickup sped up behind us as we headed to my middle boy’s first baseball game. As the truck drew nearer, both the driver and passenger began wildly gesturing while honking their horn and flashing their headlights. Confused, I pulled over to let them by. Instead of passing us, they stopped beside my truck and informed me that as I had turned up the hill from the highway, my tailgate had been open and a bunch of baseball gear had fallen out into the road.
A quick survey revealed I’d lost all the team hats and jerseys along with an entire bucket of balls. I immediately turned the truck around and drove back toward the intersection to collect the lost gear. As I headed down the hill, I could see a few baseballs along the side of the road, but the majority of them had rolled all the way across the highway and collected in several locations on the other side.
The bag of uniforms and the bucket that held the balls were nowhere to be seen, but we decided to gather baseballs into a spare box we had, then search for the bucket and jerseys. We had just begun our task when a police officer pulled in behind us. He had also seen the equipment fall out of the truck and had picked up the uniforms, the bucket, and some of the balls. We thanked him as he headed off then continued our search for the scattered baseballs. One boy headed south, one boy headed north and I went across the highway to get the few balls that hadn’t managed to roll across traffic.
After we reunited and put all the collected baseballs back in their bucket, one of my sons asked, “Dad, do you think we’ve found all the balls?” “I don’t know,” I thoughtfully replied. I looked around to see if any obvious balls had been missed, but didn’t see any more lying about. I musingly regarded the bucket and opined that we must have found all of them because the bucket seemed to be as full now as it had been before it fell out of the truck.
Later, as we drove home after the game, we neared the ‘baseball incident’ intersection again. One of my sons noticed a baseball we’d missed up ahead along the side of the road. We pulled up beside it and quickly found that it was really a white paper cup. But that got me thinking. How could I be sure all the baseballs had been gathered and I hadn’t left one behind? Maybe one lonely, forgotten, baseball had rolled somewhere we hadn’t searched. Now that baseball would lay out in the open, exposed to the elements, rotting away and neglected because we hadn’t searched diligently enough to locate it. Worse yet, I hadn’t cared about the individual baseballs to know them well enough to miss one which hadn’t made it back to the bucket.
“What man of you, having an hundred [baseballs], if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the [bucket], and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he [holdeth it in a four-seam grip] rejoicing.
And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my [baseball] which was lost.” – Luke 15:4-6
I talked with my neighbor a few doors down a couple years back but can’t remember his name. Isn’t he a lawyer? No, a Realtor, maybe. Or did he say he’d retired?
Who was that couple at the back of the chapel a few weeks ago? I haven’t seen them since. Were they visiting family? Maybe I just haven’t looked back there again. Regardless, I didn’t introduce myself.
There’s Brother Namewithheld. I’m sure glad to see he’s here today; it’s been a while. I’ll say hello to him after the meeting. Well, he’s talking with someone else right now. I’ll catch him in the hall. Ok, I guess I’ll get to it after quorum meeting. Your brother is doing what in the gym? Fine, I’ll be right there.
“….For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.” – Moses 1:35
I’m comforted knowing all things are numbered unto the Savior; including me. He knows when I’m missing from the bucket. He will unfailingly comb the weeds across the road and search diligently in every gutter and beneath every piece of detritus until I’m back in that bucket. He won’t drive off to a baseball game and forget about me. Because I’m not just another old baseball in a bucket in the back of His truck. And if I am to be more like Him, I must likewise number and know each baseball in my bucket.