Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Thursday, October 12 - Baseball Card Chronicles

“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” — Mark 2:17

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The sun beat down upon the pavement as we loaded the truck for a family beach vacation. Everything was in order when we hopped inside the air-conditioned truck. As I reached to place my water bottle into a cup holder, baseball cards blocked me. I grabbed the stack and began to hand them to our boys. They were both consumed by open binders chock-full of baseball cards that lay in their laps, reading out stats from the back of the cards. They were zealously trading as if the trade deadline was quickly approaching.

“Hey, can you guys put these cards back in your books?” I said. Their response was, “No, Dad. We took out all the guys who have zero home runs and put them in the cupholder. We don’t want them in the books.” A bit confused, I thumbed through the stack to see mainly pitchers (who do not even get a chance to hit) and rookies who haven’t been in the league long enough to have many opportunities.

The boys had determined their stats weren’t good enough to make the coveted binders. I chuckled to myself and explained the disparity in performance.

Have you ever noticed how much our lives are based on performance? We build resumes compiling our accomplishments so we can get the right job or be admitted into the perfect school. We must sell others on our achievements to get promotions. It’s as if someone is always reading the stats on the back of our baseball card. This is just the way life works, but I believe this feeling carries over into our life with God. Thankfully, God’s Kingdom doesn’t work that way.

Imagine if your “stats” were posted for all to see. Uh oh, struck out at dinner again last night with my wayward comment. Oops, made an error when I hurt my coworker’s feelings. Some of us would run out of room with speeding tickets alone!

Or potentially, it’s worse than that. Maybe you feel like the stats you’ve compiled your whole life are keeping you from entering the church doors or from ever being a Christian at all.

Be comforted to know God doesn’t read stats like we do. God knows your stats and calls you anyway. Jesus was questioned as to why He ate with tax collectors (a.k.a. dudes with unfavorable stats) and sinners (a.k.a. all of us with bad stats). He responded in Mark 2:17, “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’”

Despite the feeling that your stats should keep you from Him, God says to let your stats become your testimony, and let your testimony be your witness to others. When you believe upon the saving grace of Jesus, you move out of the cupholder and into the binder. Praise God that His Kingdom works this way!

— Ryan Noelte

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