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Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Tuesday, October 8, 2019

“They preached the Gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples.” — Acts 14:21a

Speak Up!

Sometimes I just get tickled when I am umpiring baseball games. Just recently, I was in the field for a 13-14-year-old game, when a vulnerability was exposed on the defensive team. No, it wasn’t inaccurate throws. It wasn’t lackadaisical fielding. It wasn’t even poor positioning. Let me take you back to how it unfolded.

The batter knubbed one off the end of his bat, and the ball traveled about 50 feet, wandering into what us baseball folks call “no man’s land” — between the pitcher’s mound, first base and second base. When the play ended, the batter was safe on first base, and the ball still rested on the infield grass.

The first baseman, who was standing on first base, said to the pitcher, “Why didn’t you field the ball?” The second baseman said to the first baseman, “I thought you were gonna come get it.” The pitcher exclaimed, “I was going to go cover first base, but neither of you came to get it.”

I stood among the three of them chuckling and wanting desperately to say to them collectively, “Nobody knows what you’re thinking! You’ve got to speak up!”

And, all too often, that’s our problem in life. We think things, but we don’t share them. Don’t get me wrong — there are times when we shouldn’t speak what’s on our minds! However, when it comes to building great teams and great families, we need to learn how to effectively communicate. And taking that a step further, we can always be an encourager to someone else — not by just thinking about the positive things people do, but by actually letting them know!

Consider Paul and Barnabas, who traveled together to share the Good News of the Gospel:

“They preached the Gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said.” — Acts 14:21-22

Who can you speak up for today? Who can you encourage and strengthen?

I was once asked, “How do you know if someone needs encouragement?” Answer: They’re breathing.

C.A. Phillips, NorthStar Church, Kennesaw, Ga.

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