Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

This is the 9th of a series of 15 devotionals from the late 80s when my oldest sons were just little boys …

Most of you know how much I like baseball. This is really quite remarkable since my little league experience was a disaster. My first experiences with baseball were so bad that you would think I’d hate the game for life. In my first two years, I never once touched the ball with the bat. I was the other team’s favorite player.

Nathan is now the same age I was for my first year of little league, and he is on his first hardball team. He is even playing on the same field I did 27 years ago. He recently played in his first game, and I was so nervous I hardly sat down at all on the folding chair I brought.

Pitch one – swing and a miss. Oh no, I thought, he has Buchmanitis (and acute disorder wherein the eyes, arms, and hands do not function in rhythmic order pertaining to the striking of spherical projectiles).

Pitch two – swing and a massive foul ball that struck the backstop with great force. A small sense of relief came over me – that’s more than I ever did. Yeah. That’s what I can tell him if he misses the next pitch.

Pitch three – Another foul tip … just barely.

Pitch four – Solid contact! A massive shot!  I yelled, “Run Nathan Run!”  At last the ball was retrieved by the pitcher, but not before Nathan had crossed the bag at first base. It was a hit, fair and square. He eventually scored, and with the smile of a World Series champion … for he had accomplished more than his dad ever did at that age.

I’m sure there are times when God looks at us something like a nervous father. He wants us to do well. In life and service, He desires that we “hit” and “score.” But we so often feel that He should do it all for us, as if He were our permanent pinch hitter and pinch runner. But just as I didn’t step in and do it for Nathan, God will not always step in and fix it all for us. He will provide the encouragement and give us skills we need, but our responsibility is to be faithful with what we have been given and to develop our talents for His glory.

How’s your batting practice coming?

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About Randy Buchman

I live in Western Maryland, and among my too many pursuits and hobbies, I regularly feed multiple hungry blogs. I played college baseball, coached championship cross country teams at Williamsport (MD) High School, and have been a sportswriter for various publications and online venues. 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 the Antietam Battlefield Guides organization. Occasionally I sleep.

2 thoughts on “Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

  1. Since you hate typos: Here is a chance to correct one.

    “Buchmanitis (and acute disorder wherein the eyes, arms, and hands do not function in rhythmic order pertaining to the striking of spherical projectiles).” (Drop the “d” from “and”)

    As for your admonition to engage in batting practice in some sort of way analogous to serving God, I remember that Paul gave his young follower and co-worker Timothy some advice in that regard.

    (1 Timothy 4:7-16)
    7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.
    8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
    9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.
    10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
    11 Command and teach these things.
    12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
    13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.
    14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
    15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
    16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

  2. This one really hit a home run for me Randy. Haha, so corny I know but I couldn’t help myself.
    Seriously reminds me how God’s been faithfully giving me what I need for each day.

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