I have logged an obscene number of hours at our local little league baseball field this year. With three kiddos playing ball we have practically lived at the fields this season. All that time behind a dugout has had me thinking. Baseball is a wonderful sport that I really enjoy (although more moderation would be welcome at this point in the season) and I’m fascinated by how many life truths present themselves in the game. I decided to put together some biblical truths that I have seen this year as I watched my little loves round the bases.
You don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate these life lessons but if you are I have included some fun DIY projects my friends have come up with, click on the pictures you like for a full tutorial!
Remember I have been observing little league baseball this season and some of the rules are slightly different than the majors, so don’t think I am crazy if what I am saying doesn’t line up with your Major League game…and that point starts us off:
- Nobody starts in the Majors. If I told you I was going to start my 7 year old on a team with major league players you would think I was nuts and on a death wish for my little guy. Can you image 90 mph pitches coming straight for all 49 inches of him? I’m sure CPS would think it was some sort of child abuse. He would be so far out of his league! So why is it when we start a new endeavor we expect perfection straight out of the box? Professional players spend years honing their craft. Little league reminds me you have to crawl before you walk, lower your expectations in the beginning and learn, learn, learn, practice, practice, practice! This is true for any job, craft or talent you attempt, even in your spiritual walk. Don’t be discouraged by woman of faith you see on TV, in your bible study or at church. The same way a little league player will study a major league player, we should study those ahead of us in their walk for learning and encouragement.
2 Peter 1:5-8For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As Peter writes to the church about how to grow in faith he tells the words written above. Notice the words ADD and INCREASING MEASURE. We are to build our faith and all that comes along with it, not just jump into the major leagues. Don’t throw your baby into the majors, or yourself!
- Keep your eyes where they belong. We are constantly reminding all three kids to keep their eye on the ball. You can hear parents yelling, “watch the ball” all through the stands. It’s one of the surest ways for a little one to learn timing and rhythm to make contact with the ball. My youngest is a pretty good hitter. He keeps his eye on the ball. The problem is, he keeps his eye on the ball AFTER he hits it when he should be shifting his eyes to his first base coach. The first base coach tells the runner whether to keep running to second or stop on first. When he watches the ball he doesn’t run at full force to 1st and can risk getting thrown out. Sometimes he will slow up, not see the base coach waving him on and not make the turn to second losing a base advancement.
How often do we do the same thing? Keep our eyes on the ball and then, when we launch something into the world we keep watching even when we shouldn’t. Our eyes need to constantly shift back to our coach, God. We are continually given opportunity in life and once we set things in motion we often look at our own work and accomplishments, trying to figure out how to keep it going on our own. We have a first base coach waiting to help. God wants to show you the next step, when to go, when to stop, when to wait and when to run. But we have to consult Him for direction.Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix out eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith Hebrews 12:1b-2a
- You’ll never hit a ball you don’t swing at. My oldest gets on base quite a bit. She watches the ball and doesn’t swing at the “balls”, you know the bad pitches. She doesn’t swing at the good ones either. At her age she gets walked a lot because the pitchers aren’t developed enough yet. It works for her at this point, but it won’t for long. She is so scared she’s going to miss that she stands petrified and rarely, if ever, swings. You can’t hit a ball you don’t swing at. The highest career batting average in MLB belongs to Ty Cobb at .366. That means he hit roughly 110 times out of every 300 pitches. He missed more than he hit, and his average is a career best! You have to be willing to miss if you really want to be in the game. Your proposal will get denied, your submission overlooked, you won’t get that job and that relationship won’t work out, even in ministry your words will be unwelcome.
If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. Matthew 10:14
- Calling the shots. One element of any sport that has a huge impact on the outcome of a game is the umpire, or referee. We’ve had some great experiences with umpires who teach and encourage along the way. Some even give warnings to young players so they can learn the rules. Some referees simply make bad and unfair calls. We have all witnessed a game when the umpire seems particularly biased. It’s devastating to the outcome of a game and usually even more so to the attitude of our little players.
I bet you’ve had some bad calls in life. Someone has done something unfair to you and you’ve had no way to change the outcome. Maybe someone made a fair call on your life and the truth stings and hurts. The reality is there are outsiders that influence our life, but we are the ones that determine the outcome. We decide to take a wrong call and make the best of it or argue till we’re blue in the face. The call isn’t going to change, there is no instant replay in little league or life. We can decide to take words of truth called out on our faults and own them, making changes for good or pout and let pride defeat us completely. Either way, one person’s call doesn’t define you, at least not any more than you let it. Walking in faith, knowing things aren’t always fair, but in the end God wins the big game can help us navigate the bad calls and helps us to be thankful for the refining good ones.
- It’s all in your head. Watching these budding athletes is so fun and so challenging. As a protective mama bear I get all nervous when my kids bat or a ball heads their way. Not because I care if they win or lose, but I care about their confidence. I want it built up at every instance possibly. I’m old enough to know how easily a little thing like a missed pop fly or 3 strikes can defeat you…mentally. Baseball (all sports really) is a mental game where the physically best team doesn’t always win, but the mentally prepared team does. When bad calls happen, opportunities sneak by and the other team lunges ahead you can see defeat sitting firmly on top of the kids, the weight literally slumping their shoulders. If the team is collectively able to let the negative roll off their back and focus on the positive they are able to turn things around and pull off a win. It’s a battle that is won in the mind not the dirt. Life is exactly the same way. We chose to be defeated by other’s gain or a missed opportunity instead of turning those thoughts around and working them for good. These kids are still young, their confidence is like play-doh soft and fresh from the can waiting to be molded. The younger they can learn to conquer defeat the more bold they will be in life. However, you’re never to old to reconstitute your confidence, especially when your confidence is molded by Christ.
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5bI hope you enjoyed the thoughts that have landed on me as I sit in the little league baseball bleachers, chewing Double Bubble and cheering on the kids. I’m a firm believer God is everywhere you look, especially the ball park. Keep swinging friends.
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