I BELIEVE IN THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES

by David Sisler

With opening day of the major league baseball season just a few days away, I renew my confession: I believe in the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Additionally, I believe in Amoco gasoline.

I also believe in U. S. News and World Report.

And, I believe in my wife.

The Pittsburgh Pirates came close to a winning world championship in 1990 and 1991. Around my house we cringe when a televised sporting event replays, "The Slide." Sid Bream, former Pirate, then Atlanta Brave, lumbering home with the run that took the Braves to the World Series sent the Pirates home, and my sons and I silently off to bed we just switched off the TV and wandered down the hall. They almost did it! But as the late Pirate broadcaster, Bob Prince used to say, "Almost only counts in horse shoes and quoits."

This year holds new promises for Bucco fans a new manager, a new stadium (the last time they opened a new stadium they won the World Series). But injuries are piling up in spring training and in some faithless circles (not on the cul de sac where we live, however) the cry of "Wait till next year!" has already started. Regardless, I believe in the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In 1966 I received an Amoco gasoline credit card. For a quarter of a century I used that brand almost exclusively, switching only a dozen years ago when there was no station on my route of travel. I believe in Amoco gasoline.

Of the three major weekly news magazines, I read U. S. News and World Report almost exclusively. Occasionally I will buy one of the others, but I find myself frequently disagreeing with their editorial slant. I believe in U. S. News and World Report.

For more than 32 years Bonnie Belle Carter has been my wife, companion, best friend, and a lot more. She's put up with a lot being married to me. Her strength has consistently been my strength. I believe in my wife.

I've been a Pirate fan for 41 years. They have had many great players. One of my favorite Bucs was Tim Foli. When I got his autograph a few years ago he signed his name and then added "Romans 8:28." I do not believe in the Pirates, however, to the point I would trust my eternity to them.

I believe that Amoco gasoline is a well-researched product. I believe that it runs well in my car. I do not believe in it enough, however, to drive out of my way to fill up with it. I would not trust my eternity to a gasoline.

I believe in U. S. News and World Report. I've read it since high school. I trust their reporting. I would not trust my eternity to a magazine.

I believe in Bonnie. I believed in her when I did not believe in myself. As much as I love her, I would not trust my eternity to her.

Don't laugh. You believe in something. Everyone does. You are trusting your eternity to something. Everyone is.

Some people are trusting their eternity to their religion. They attend services occasionally. They drop a few dollars in the offering plate. They even own a Bible and probably read it once or twice a year. Ask them what they believe about God and they'll tell you what church holds their membership. But the Bible says, "There is a way that only seems right."

Some people are trusting their eternity to their social accomplishments. They are involved in positive community projects. They give their old glasses to the Lion's Club, drop their change in a fireman's boot at a road block, and buy Girl Scout Cookies. They recycle and use biodegradables. But the Bible says, "Eternal life is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."

Some people are trusting their eternity to their proper moral living. Ask them why they should be admitted into heaven and they'll give you a list of zeros. They don't steal. They don't use illegal drugs. They don't murder. They don't drive under the influence of alcohol. But the Bible says, "By deeds shall no flesh be justified in God's sight."

Some people are trusting their eternity to their good health. They may not come right out and tell you, but they really believe they'll live forever. They must believe that because they are making no other plans. But the Bible says, "It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment."

I do believe in the Pittsburgh Pirates, but not for my eternity. I believe in Jesus of Nazareth, God the Son. I have trusted my eternity to Him. Completely.

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Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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