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Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional - Thursday, September 27, 2018

Seize the Day

It was the bottom of the third inning. There was a runner on first with two outs, and the score was tied 0-0. An errant throw took our first baseman off the bag, but he still seemed to tag the runner.

“Safe!”

I couldn’t believe it. The base umpire said our first baseman missed the tag. I let the umpire know what I thought about his call, and after a couple of comments about his eyesight, I got tossed.

As I sat in the locker room, waiting for the game to be over, I was baffled at what happened. I’d never gotten ejected before. For me, what happened was totally out of character. I disagreed with the call, but I knew better than to react emotionally. Why the sudden outburst?

“Teach me to number my days that I may gain a heart of wisdom.” — Psalm 90:12

I’ve always loved this verse because of the connection it establishes between time and wisdom. In this prayer, Moses is asking the Lord to help him make the most of the time he’s been given. He doesn’t want to waste time, or act as if time is of an infinite supply. There seems to be a hint of carpe diem here — he wants to “seize the day!” But defining what it means to seize the day is what changes everything.

Throughout this past season, I battled a lot of new pressures. As a 24-year-old, soon-to-be-married man with an extensive injury history, I felt my window getting smaller and smaller each passing day. I couldn’t afford to play poorly. I couldn’t afford to stay in the same league all season. And I certainly couldn’t afford to get hurt again. So I was putting the pedal to the metal every way I could.

The moment things began to shift away from my timeline (from my plans, goals and priorities) I began to crumble under the weight I’d laid on my own shoulders. The outburst wasn’t an outlier or a bad day — it was a warning of what had been brewing in my heart for quite some time. I had defined success on the field as my primary focus. If things didn’t go the way I wanted them to go or the way I believed they should go, I felt as though the day had gone to waste. The only thing I really seemed to care about — rather, what I cared about most was me.

In Colossians 3:23-24, Paul writes, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Here we are given the Biblical definition of seizing the day. It is giving the Lord our all, working with all our heart to honor Him, and being faithful with everything He’s given us.

Why? Because it’s not about us; it’s all about Jesus. Serving the Lord Christ (whatever vocation, whatever our lot) is the way to make the most of the time we’ve been given. Faithfulness is the standard, and Jesus is the focus.

It’s so easy to take my eyes off what really matters. It’s so easy to forget that I’m meant to serve the Lord with the gifts He’s given me, and what comes of those gifts is in His hands. When I make my life about me, thinking I know what’s best, no matter how hard I work, I’m simply wasting time.

But when Jesus takes center stage, every detail of my life becomes aligned in accordance to His authority over my life as my Lord and Savior. That’s when my days begin to be driven by wisdom. The statistics, social status and success won’t matter when Jesus returns; faithfulness will.

Seize the day.

Mitchell Traver, minor league baseball player

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