We are God’s T-Ball Team

This is the 8th of a series of 15 devotionals from the late 80s when my oldest sons were just little boys …

We have reached another milestone in our family life that again sounds a chime on the ever advancing clock of my own life. Nathan is now a little league ballplayer.

Frankly, this is one of the things that I have most looked forward to as a father of little boys – the day that my guys would begin their athletic careers. And most of you know about my personal theology of baseball – that it was created by God early in the book of Genesis and will appear again in its perfect form in the eternal state. It is God’s favorite game (which is why He does not care that much about what happens to the Cowboys).

Actually, I’ve gotten more than I bargained for this season with Harmony Township T-Ball. A man called and asked if I would be a helper. He called back and asked if I would be an assistant coach. The third time he called, he told me that there were too many kids for one team and I was needed to coach the new second team.

Really, it has been a great experience and a marvelous opportunity to meet many unbelievers. BUT, T-Ball is no place for a connoisseur of the world’s greatest sport. Me watching T-Ball is like Charles Stanley listening to Rodney Dangerfield preach, or like Luciano Pavarotti listening to Johnny Cash attempt to sing “The Marriage of Figaro.”

The typical batter may actually hit the ball on the third or fourth swing. When this happens, coaches and parents from all directions begin yelling orders to their players. Inevitably, the ball goes between the legs of the first defensive player, who has no idea what is happening anyhow because he is standing there thinking about balloons. The second defensive player falls down in front of the ball, stopping its progress somewhere beneath his body. All of the other players (who are not looking longingly at the younger children on the nearby playground equipment) make a dash to be the first to pick up the ball for the throw to first base. However, the winner is unable to muster much of a toss since he is surround by angry players who lost the scramble. As the throw slowly rolls in the general direction of first base, the batter is now heading into third base. No problem however, because the runner at first base when the ball was hit is still there, not realizing that a play is in progress, as he was thinking about flying kites at the beach. As the coaches retrieve the ball and establish order, everyone else congratulates all of the players for their brilliant effort. Sometimes it gets so wild that there is no way to intervene and stop it – you just have to laugh and wait until they are done.

God must look at our actions sometimes and watch us seriously attempt the game of life, only to laugh at our silly plays and futile efforts. I fear that many times in church life we are trying to get the runner at first base when the real play to be made is at third!

Just as it takes time to learn the game of baseball and practice to play it well, so also the Christian life takes time and experience to succeed. The Scriptures say that we should study to show ourselves approved unto God. In baseball talk, this means that we must be a student of the game, learning and applying all that we can so that we strike out less and make fewer errors in the field.

Isn’t that much like our goals in the Christian life – to strike out less and make fewer errors? Let us be students of the game and students of the Book.

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About Randy Buchman

I live in Western Maryland, and among my too many pursuits and hobbies, I regularly feed 3-4 hungry blogs. I played college baseball, coached championship cross country teams at Williamsport (MD) High School, and am the editor of a Baltimore/Maryland sports blog called "The Baltimore Wire." My main profession is as the lead pastor of a church in Hagerstown called Tri-State Fellowship. And I'm active in Civil War history and work/serve at Antietam National Battlefield with a Guides organization. Occasionally I sleep.

3 thoughts on “We are God’s T-Ball Team

  1. I feel very much today like I can relate to the kids trying to play baseball. Just got through praying with a few tears about how little in my life is matching up with general standards of good productivity.

    It is clear from scripture that we each are prone to fail in different areas. Even righteous Job failed to accurately grasp how greater and wiser God was than he was. David had his sins. Samuel wasn’t that great a dad. Paul got angry at the High Priest and called him a “whitewashed wall,” as Peter and Barnabas fell into hypocrisy trying to please religious hypocrites as demonstrated when they stopped eating with Gentiles when religious folk from James came to visit.

    Few in the Bible seem to escape sin and failure as much as we ought.
    The study of scripture is something I personally am intermittent on. Energetic study at times …lapses at others. More lapses of late though than energetic study.

    Scripture is good for direction. Telling us what to do. We can often get that somewhat quickly. That is learn what we must do. And we might not need to be reminded of it consistently. Yet scripture is also good in terms of encouragement. Reading scripture might then also help us keep up our spiritual energy at times. Scripture is also helpful for us to be persuasive… it helps us to teach others the truth.

    Regarding persuasiveness and teaching, Paul wrote Timothy (2 Timothy 2:15) “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

    Later he explained “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

    So studying scripture is good for us personally, but is also a primary tool that God uses for us to build up the body of Christ.

    What more important thing is there to do than to focus on that? So studying the word is important. Maybe I’ll then do a little bit of it today. I’ve even got Bible on CD’s. I’ll make it my goal to listen less to the Orioles on the radio and catch more of the words of God. 30 or more minutes of the word of God seems like a reasonable goal. And the horrifying news of the day … it always horrifies me day after day … I can and should spend less time doing that too. While God might want me to save the country in some sort of way, this isn’t going to happen if I neglect the wisdom, patience, endurance and clarity that is found is scripture, choosing instead to worry about what people on the radio or the media are saying.

    Hey, since I just looked at 2 Timothy a verse just popped into my head. 2Timothy 2:16 “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” So I should avoid listening to it and partaking in it. Maybe I should ban most talk radio from intellectual and spiritual diet.

    2 Timothy 2:23ff has more on this topic. Beside avoiding the type of godless chatter and stupid arguments that fill the airwaves we also need to adopt a Christlike approach to spreading his word. If we adopt the methods of the world we are not serving God. Take note of the advice that Paul gave to Timothy. We can probably all gain from his advice.

    ” 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.
    24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
    25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,
    26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

    I appreciate you sharing with us your thoughts. In order to be less like the kids you described and more like a servant of God, I might just study the Bible a little bit and see other good advice given in years past …

    And did Christ call us to save the world, or first help the church? In any case we need the strength and guidance provided in scripture to be able to do anything that God wants. Or at least to be “equipped for every good work.” And not just equipped but “thoroughly equipped.”

    A Christian trying to serve God yet not knowing the Bible is like a hitter walking into the batters box without his bat.

    How is that for a catchy baseball analogy Randy? Well I think it is catchy. You think it is true Randy?

    Sure we might get lucky and get walked. Or maybe we can get hit by an inside pitch and get on base … but we are missing a lot of potential to serve God by not knowing his word.

    • Yes, that is a very good baseball analogy. Baseball lends itself to all sorts of biblical and Christian life illustrations. I have to swallow down most of them, as they are not likely sensible as immediately to anyone who is less than an ardent follower of the sport.

  2. I like analogies. Maybe one key is to mix up analogies a bit. For example, Jesus sometimes made a point stringing a number of analogies together. (Hopefully I don’t choke as I try to come up with the scriptures … ponder…)

    One parable dealing with a man and his wayward son.Another about a shepherd losing a sheep and one about a woman losing her coin? Three parables to get one point across. So I’d rather hear a parable that I don’t get … especially if others follow that I might get.

    Here is a heritical teaching to follow. Let every word be established by two or three or parables.

    Ah… maybe that isn’t exactly the teaching the Jesus ….

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