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Finding Jesus in a pack of ball cards

There could be a sermon in here somewhere.

     It’s not often that religion and my hobby of baseball card collecting cross paths. They did, though, during a recent pack purchase.

     While opening a pack of the new Topps Allen and Ginter product, I uncovered an insert card of Jesus. He was part of the People of the Bible insert card set.

     A quick word of explanation.

     Inserts are not part of a collection’s regular set, but instead appear every so often as special cards sprinkled among the packs. Depending on a number of factors, assembling a set of these special cards can be challenging.

     I typically don’t chase after insert card sets, but I wanted the People of the Bible set. So I went to eBay to see what sellers there had to offer to help me in my pursuit.

     I found out the set has 15 cards in all. In addition to Jesus, others in the set include David, Moses, Abraham, Job, Jonah, Daniel, Mary Magdalene, Peter, Luke, Adam and Eve, Isaiah, Joseph, Mary and John the Baptist.

     As luck would have it, I found someone offering a 14-card partial set. The only one missing was the Jesus card.

     At this point, let me say the mind reels at the double entendre phrasing possibilities surrounding this situation.

     “I need Jesus,” the seller could have thought before offering his partial set for sale. Whether the gravity of that sentence captured him or her is unknown.

     Of course, anybody already in possession of the missing card could say, “I have Jesus,” and mean it in more ways than one.

     Being as I did have the one card needed to complete the set, I placed a bid. Unfortunately, I was outbid and now had to continue my search.

     A short while later, I found a full 15-card set and was able to win that auction.

     Doing so left me with two Jesus cards and more double entendres.

     “I wouldn’t trade Jesus for anything,” was the first thought that came to mind. Or perhaps I could “share Jesus” with any card-collecting friends I may find.

     OK, now that I’ve had a little fun with my hobby find, let me say why I think a People of the Bible set is a good thing.

     The People of the Bible cards themselves are small and modeled after the ones that were included in cigarette packs in the early 1900s. Each card only measures about 1.5 inches wide and 3 inches tall.

     As such, they don’t have any information on them other than the person’s name and their picture. The backs of each card only list the people in the set.

     It may be hopeful thinking, but I think it’d be great if a finder of one of these cards turned to a Bible to learn more about what they just pulled from a pack of sports cards. A Google search might serve the same informative purpose, but I don’t believe would have the same impact.

     I’m pretty sure Topps didn’t set out to proselytize anyone with their set of cards. But we never know what tools God may use to bring people to Him.

     In fact, I think using cards could be considered just another example of “reaching people where they are.”

     More involved, detailed and formal efforts by church groups are part of mission trips to reach people where they are. Many local youth returning to school this past week likely spent part of their summer vacations on mission trips to foreign countries or in other parts of the United States.

     Collecting cards is a fun hobby. And if they happen to be able to be used for a higher purpose, well, I don’t have a problem with that.

     That’s all for now.

     Write to Managing Editor Matthew Coleman at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602, or send e-mail to mcoleman@dailyleader.com.