I was watching seven and eight-year-olds play little league. While waiting their team’s turn to bat, the coach encouraged them to ‘watch’ what was going on in the game. Several of these novices were standing on the bench swatting each other with their baseball gloves, totally oblivious to the game. Some of them did this each inning! Even amid these young players, I could see who was listening and watching and who was there just to ‘goof off’ and ‘hang out’ with others. They are young and just learning. I get that. Fun is their priority.
What about the opposition faced in playing a team sport as an adult? What would it look like if every professional baseball player, instead of catching or fielding a ball, just turned away screeching, too frightened to try catching? Or what if when the pitcher pitched a ball, the batter shut his eyes or cried, “You threw that too fast!” or “The ball is hard and might hit and hurt me!”. Maybe in frustration, the batter just threw the bat at the pitcher? Or what if the batter did not even try and just ran crying into the dugout? You would know that the baseball player was useless to the team.
Good players learn what to do through practice and experience and listening to the coach. Players wear the uniform of their team. They are proud to be identified with a particular group of persons in the league. The players wear the items that will protect and use equipment that will help them most. They do their best to follow the coach’s instructions and to assist the entire team to victory.
Good ball players with heart and passion can teach others. They know through their own experiences what works and what doesn’t. They know how to encourage someone else to do better. They prepare for the opposition.
I think the game of baseball might just have a lot to teach people who are on the Kingdom-of-God-Team!
“I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one – baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways, solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong.” (From Hebrews 5 The MSG)