A Little Bit of Run Support

Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up. —1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

During our son David’s last year to play college baseball, my husband and I were on the road every weekend from February until May, traveling often four hours one way so we wouldn’t miss a single game of his final season. So we got to know and appreciate the boys who backed up David when he pitched. They were an amazing group of young men.

We heard apologies for errors, allowing runners on base. We witnessed the disappointment they felt when they weren’t producing the hits needed to win and when they knew they weren’t playing up to their potential. Yes, there were slumps—in batting and in pitching. But when a player was down, others encouraged him and took up the slack. When David came off the mound after a bad inning, the guys lined up to give him high fives, letting him know they still believed in him.

When I prayed for David to have his best year ever, I was thinking ERAs, wins, and all those stats that show little how much he matured as a ballplayer, a leader, and a man. I realize now how self-centered that prayer really was.

But God answered my prayer. Not in impressive stats for David but in blessing the team as a whole. David did have his best year ever—because he was on a team that knew what a team is and acted as one. No egos tainted the dugout. No self-serving attitudes strutted around the field.

They all were stars who took with them into life the lessons they learned on the ball field and in the dugout—lessons they taught me as I watched them: That it’s not about me but about us. It’s not about being served and pampered and catered to; instead, it’s about serving and loving and encouraging when the chips are down. It’s saying in action, “I believe in you” after a poor performance. It’s not about what you can do for me, but what I can do for you. It’s about ignoring the pain and playing hurt because you know that others need you. It’s about having a good attitude when the coach gives another guy the position for which you think you’re better qualified and for which you worked so hard.

It’s about learning the importance of submission and obedience and making the best of things. It’s about keeping on when you’ve given all you’ve got, only to come up short. When nothing goes your way, you keep on fighting and don’t give up, give in, or give out. It’s about letting pain and disappointment be the teachers they are meant to be and hone your character as good innings and victories cannot and will not. Our deepest pain and disappointment are usually the places where we can best help others.

“I knew if we gave David a little bit of run support,” said the second baseman, “he would be fine on the mound.”

A little bit of run support—isn’t that what we all need?

Dear God, help me to stop thinking about myself and open my eyes to those around me who can use “a little run support.” Amen.

Read and meditate on Romans 15:1–7 and 2 Corinthians 1:3–7.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Magnifying Glass or Prism?

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Read and meditate on Matthew 5:13–16

You’re to be light, bringing out the God-colors in this world. —Matthew 5:14 (The Message)

When I ran into an old friend in the supermarket—seems like the grocery store has become the social center of today—we spent several minutes chatting and getting caught up. We’d been in a young mothers’ Bible study together years, actually decades, ago, and such shared experiences kind of cement the bond we women have, even though time and life have a way of leading us on separate paths.

“What have you been up to?”

“How are the kids?”

“You look great!”

Somewhere in the conversation, I said, without thinking, “If we’re not in the center of God’s will, we’re going to be restless and miserable.”

Immediately I sensed I’d crossed a line. I thought about my statement the whole way home, hoping I hadn’t offended her.

While I believe the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19–20) is given to every believer, and thus is my duty, too, I’m not bold—some would call it being “pushy”—when it comes to what we Christians call “witnessing.” While there are those who just seem to have a gift for telling a perfect stranger about Jesus, I’m not one of them—unless I sense God’s nudging. Words on paper, OK. Face-to-face, huh-uh. I’m too much a chicken. “Preach the gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words” is more my style of evangelism.

But, even in that capacity, I wonder if I’m doing the job right. After all, I’m only human, and I fail every day. And such failures are the reasons why non-believers accuse us believers of being hypocrites. “I’m not a saint—I’m a sinner saved by grace,”  “I’m not perfect, just forgiven” aren’t excuses or reasons to allow myself to blatantly disregard what God has told me in His Word.

But like the apostle Paul, “when I want to do good, I don’t; and when I try to not to do wrong, I do it anyway” (Romans 7:19 LB). Hence I have no right to judge others.

Yet I have this wonderful life God has given me (John 10:10), a guidebook to life on earth (2 Timothy 3:16–17), a beautiful-beyond-description home in heaven awaiting me (John 14:2), and the key to it (1 John 5:11–12). Shouldn’t I share this knock-your-socks-off story with others?

Yes. In the words of the late Pirate announcer, Bob Prince, there is nooooooo doubt about it. After all, James says, a faith without works is a dead faith (James 2:18). “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).

And doing what it says is to live my life so that all that I do is pleasing to God, letting His light shine in and through me. “I’m putting you on a light stand,” Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:15–16 (The Message). “Now that I’ve put you there . . . shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

A magnifying glass makes things look bigger than they really are, like other folks’ faults. A prism, on the other hand, bends the light passing through it, breaking it up into a rainbow of colors that showers those nearby.

Dear God, let me not be a magnifying glass, but a prism. Amen.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.