where love is alive 

Last Wednesday it was my privilege to share a devotional time with Coach Mark Brew and the Lee University Baseball team. It was an honor for eighth season in a row to be welcomed into their locker room at Olympic Field and to share about the Lord with these young men.

Baseball is a unique game in that it is played without a clock. It is exceptionally rare in that the defense, rather than the offense, controls the ball. I also I find it interesting how many aspects of the sport can share a spiritual application. Baseball devotional themes include “making a sacrifice,” “dealing with errors,” and last week’s topic about when the Lord “pinch hit” for you on the cross. For the record, the Lee University Baseball Team is UNDEFEATED on the day’s I have led devotionals. While I can take no credit for this success, I nevertheless am proud of my association with this streak.

This week I take the field again with the North Cleveland Baptist men’s slow pitch softball team. I must be close to the oldest person in the league. While I have played slow pitch softball for about 40 years, my days in organized baseball were few. To be exact, I played two seasons when I was 11 and when I was 12. Thinking back, even these childhood baseball experiences taught me valuable spiritual lessons. These include:

GET ON A TEAM. Kids take pride in being on a team and wearing their team name. No matter how talented, a baseball player must be a member of a larger group. God designed our spirituality to be lived out in community. “Teams” in my life include family, church, Bible studies, prayer circles, worship leaders, and mission groups.

LEARN FROM ONE ANOTHER. One aspect of “teamwork” is that more experienced players and coaches are eager to teach others how to perform better. Christians of all ages benefit from mentors who model and train others in spiritual matters.

       CAPITALIZE ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL TALENTS. Players are put into positions that reflect their individual abilities. Strong arms can pitch. Players good with the glove find themselves on the infield. Better hitters are placed closer to the top of the batting order. God has given everyone unique abilities that ought to be utilized.

EVERYONE PLAYS. As a kid, it was required and encouraged that every child play in each game. (We continue this practice on our men’s softball team.)  There is a place for everyone to contribute. No one should “ride the bench” in baseball or in the church.

SHARE. My 14-member little league team shared a grand total of 4 bats. The same set of batting helmets were exchanged between dugouts between every half-inning. In church, pooling our resources enables us to minister with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

I’ll brainstorm more comparisons. But for now let me say it is a privilege to serve the Lord with you as part of the North Cleveland Baptist team.  Play Ball!           Jay





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