“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” – (1 Corinthians 9:25 NIV)
I had the honor of joining our high school baseball team when I was in the 8th grade. I don’t remember it perfectly, but I think the coach said something like, “You seem talented and knowledgeable about baseball, and we really need someone to keep book in the dugout.” So of course I signed up.
Sitting in the dugout night after night, you get pretty close with the other guys riding the pine with you. Some of my best baseball memories are with them. For the most part, we were all resigned to our place on the team. We did not have any aspirations about being a star or even getting consistent playing time.
But there was one guy. He would often say, “I just need my chance” and “I need a shot to show them I can play.” The rest of us always kind of laughed it off.
One day, the left fielder was sick and finally our friend got his shot. We were stoked that one of us was getting a start, and we were cheering for him like crazy. However, our expectations were not very high.
Late in the game, when the score was close, an opposing player hit a rope down the left field line. Our guy tried to take a good angle, but he did not get to the ball until hit had rolled to the fence. With a runner rounding third, we all turned to see the ball flying through the air. Our bench warmer buddy threw it all the way from the fence to home plate, on a line, and got the runner out by two steps. That is not something you see every day in high school baseball around here.
Of course, the crowd went nuts. But in the dugout, we were all kind of stunned. We just kind of looked at each other. Our friend came back in and took a seat. We had no idea what to say. He got a small grin on his face and said, “I told you. I just needed a chance.”
While the rest of us were happy with just being on the team, our friend with a rocket arm had apparently been preparing. He was working hard to get playing time. He was busting his rear end to be ready whenever he finally got his shot. As a result, he was able to contribute when called upon.
As Christians, God wants to use us. He has purposes for our lives. But as we seek a grand purpose that we hope will be revealed, we often miss opportunities every day to serve and spread the Gospel. The truth is that we never know when we will be called upon by God to help someone, share our testimony, or show compassion in a way that allows people to experience Jesus first-hand.
We have to be prepared. We must have the Word in our hearts and Christ’s name on our lips at all times, just in case God puts an opportunity in front of us to bring others close to him. We are called to be trained with our testimony and we should work hard to find those that need to hear it. Christianity is not a spectator sport, we always have to be ready to play when our number is called.
– Jamie Boggs