“Life is a lot like baseball, it’s a day to day existence full of ups and downs. You make the most of your opportunities in baseball as you do in life.” -Ernie Harwell
It is my opinion that God loves anything that we do for His glory. Whether it be playing baseball or becoming a missionary in a foreign country, He will love it if we do it for Him. There are so many aspects of the game that remind me of the path that I am on with Christ that I can’t help but believe that He had his hand in the making of America’s greatest pastime.
Our mission as Christians is to make disciples by spreading the Gospel.
“Go and make disciples of all nations...” Matthew 28:19
In baseball your goal is to get as many of your teammates to cross home-plate as possible. Home plate represents God; He brings you into this world and you spend your entire life trying to find and create a relationship with Him. Once you find Him you are called to bring your teammates with you, to bring them home where God is, so that you may celebrate together. Sometimes though, just as in life, it’s your brothers in Christ that are the ones that help you cross the plate.
Every pitch thrown to you is an opportunity to get on base, much like God who continually gives us chances and opportunities. One of the most important things to realize is that He doesn’t force us to use one of those chances, He has given us freewill. You have to make the decision to follow Christ and at the end of the day, you are the one that has to swing the bat.
Each base is like a stepping stone in life. Moments where you can stop and reflect on how you got to where you are and what you still need to do to get back home. Like life, sometimes you do lose your way and you get “out.” However, something amazing happened when Christ died for our sins. We are forgiven! We are redeemed! We are given another chance, another at-bat! What an amazing blessing to know that when we get “out” we are given another opportunity. Both in baseball and in life you have to take what you have learned from past mistakes and use those lessons to give yourself a better chance at success the next time. These “outs” or trials only strengthen your testimony, which is a great way to encourage your teammates on their journey Home.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.” Ephesians 1:7
Then, of course, there is the devil, which is the opposing team.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Peter 5:8
The defense, like the devil, will do whatever it takes to get you out so that you do not make it home. They will throw you curve-balls and run trick plays. They will shift their defense for certain hitters and even do their best to get multiple outs at the same time. The good news is that in baseball, you have coaches and teammates helping you on your road home; they educate you on the opposing team before the game and discuss the tactics they will use to try to win. During the game they will often let you know when to steal a base, when to take a pitch, or when they see a potential problem. In life, similarly to baseball, you have people who will lift you up in your relationship with Christ, and they will alert you when they see a dangerous situation that could affect your journey. You also will have spiritual advisers like your pastor who help to equip you with the necessary ammunition needed to defeat the enemy.
The reality is that baseball is a game of failure, even for the best players, just like Christians go through their own trials. The key is to know how to use those failures as lessons, each teaching you something valuable that you can use at your next at-bat.
Once you are Home, you are finally safe and the opponent can no longer get to you, and on that day I hope we are all able say to our Creator:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. - Timothy 4:7