It’s More Than Just Baseball...
It’s All Star Time!!!! Hot Summer days and nights spent at the local ballparks with friends, families, and fellow baseball fans as we watch our players give their all to a game they love. So many gifts can be found in this environment. It’s way more than just baseball.
There are obvious God sightings such as a teams huddled together in prayer before and after the game.
Maybe you’ve scouted out great miracles in little league children with disabilities hitting homeruns and carrying their teams to the win.
Maybe you found the ultimate win in the child who was once told He would never throw a baseball and is now defeating the odds. Your eyes full of joyous tears as he winds up and pitches from the mound.
Maybe you see a resemblance of Him in coaches, through their dependability and devotion to the child of a broken home who is trying to learn the game but ultimately needs to learn he is worth being invested in.
Y’all, our God runs the bases with us. He meets us outside the dugout when we knock a homer out of the park but He’s also there when we strike out.
In some moments we see the more subtle ways He joins us at the old ball game. He sends treasures amidst the peanuts and cracker jacks and the unexpected gift found in the box of salty sweetness we call life.
We can be reminded of His sacrifice amidst the pure white leather and the crimson red stitching - a gift placed in our hands. Are we holding onto it or carelessly tossing it aside?
We can see the resemblance of the stains of sin on our lives as we look at the once new, bright white, baseball pants covered in red dirt from sliding into plays that could have been avoided if we had followed our base coach’s instruction.
We can see His love in the players as they respectfully take a knee when another is injured. They don’t need all the details. They simply know there is pain and they automatically kneel to join the fallen, not rising until their teammate is able to find their feet again.
We can hear Him through the fan’s voices of encouragement extended in hopes of lifting the losing team.
We can feel Him when the catcher puts his mit on the pitcher’s shoulder. “Settle down now. It’s me and you. We’ve got this. I’ll give you a target. Pitch the ball.” Aren’t you so glad our God is willing to step out from behind the plate, meet us on the mound, and remind us He is for us?!?
What an incredible mission field the grass and red dirt becomes when we allow ourselves to see that our Father is present and can be worshipped wherever we are. He is not contained only to the structure of a church building but also manifests through all of us as His church, if we allow it. It doesn’t matter whether we are surrounded by walls or white chalk lines and chain link fencing - God is there.
One of the most beautiful displays the missional gift of baseball gives us is when multiple players, teams, and families come together and grow.
We find love when the individual team names are lost. You see, in these moments, when we put the competition and comparison aside, His team appears. A team that lifts one another and learns together. A team that encourages rather than breaking down. A team that gives high fives no matter which jersey they are in or what team they played on in the past. We celebrate with one another in the grand slams and we walk together silently after the losses.
Are we, as adults, playing on His team in this game of life? Are we willing to look beyond past seasons and go into this one united? Are we coachable enough to see that the competition and comparison divides the team rather than strengthening it? Let’s be brave enough to leave that behavior in the dugout, to sit it on the bench and to hustle out into the fields joyfully.
Father, Thank you for the lessons of truth you supply through all things, including sporting events. Thank you for the patient teaching you provide through objects we can see, hold, and experience. We are grateful that you scout us out, that you consider us all MVPs, and that you offered us all the invitation to play on your team. Help us to accept it. It is through your grace that the stains of sin on our lives can be washed clean. Please help us to hold onto the sacrifice and salvation only you can provide. Just as the crimson stitching holds the ball together may the crimson blood you shed hold us together in faith. Please open our eyes to witness more of your all star moments in our lives and remind us that it’s way more than just baseball. In your name we pray. ~Amen