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A Lesson from Baseball

by Jon Duncan - Interim Worship Pastor

Yes, I am an addict! There, I said it. I am addicted to baseball. What a game! The love of baseball came early growing up in Oklahoma. Dad and I would watch the “game of the week” every Saturday while listening to another game on the radio. We did it all. Summer league, Y-league, church league, and school leagues were at the top of this kid’s priority. Then it happened! Cable TV came to 3410 Pioneer in Oklahoma City, we could watch baseball on week nights! “America’s Team” (the Braves) was MY team! Now if you are wondering if the home of the Braves had anything to do with accepting the call to leave Oklahoma for Georgia—let’s just say, it didn’t hurt!

In 2018, the Braves beat the Phillies in what was a VERY long game. I really needed to get to bed early considering the “to do” list that was waiting for me the next morning while serving at the Georgia Baptist Convention. I just couldn’t pull away until the final out. Before I knew it, I had been watching the game for 4 hours! If you are wondering—the Braves did win that night!

I read a news article that was published many years ago regarding the actual time it takes to play a nine-inning game. Dick Wade, a Kansas City sportswriter, once decided to find out exactly how much "action" occurred in a baseball game. So, on June 21, 1956, he took a stopwatch to a game between the Kansas City Athletics and Washington Senators and counted the time it took a ball to leave the pitcher's hand until it arrived at home plate; then on all hit balls, he let the clock run until the batter was either out or safe. The total "action" during the two-hour, 28-minute game was only 8 minutes and 5 seconds! Kansas City won, 15-6 (story comes from online archives by Tom Peters with the Philadelphia Inquirer).

The baseball theme serves as a gentle reminder that the things which matter most can get lost in the things that matter least. Just as non-essentials slow down a ball game, so too can prioritizing the wrong things drag down the family of faith. Let’s make sure prayer, bible study, fellowship, worship, and ministry engagement receive the priority it deserves.

Ephesians 5:15-17 states: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (NIV). It's hard to determine what God’s will is when our priorities are not in alignment with God’s Word. Worship, Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and ministry engagement is always a reflection of “well-placed” priorities.

I must admit that devoting 4 hours to a ball game left a hefty dose of conviction when measured against the time I spent in prayer that evening in 2018. As a fellow disciple, may we all be encouraged to revisit our priorities. I still root for the Braves!

Final questions and a prayer:

How much time do you spend in prayer and bible study through any given week?

What are a few things you could remove from your list of daily activities that would free up more time for God?

Dear Lord,

You are timeless, eternal, and sovereign. As awesome as it is to think of your greatness, I live in utter amazement that you would want to spend time with me. You always have time for me! What a blessed thought! Thank you for showing such love and mercy as to allow me into your presence as I gather with my brothers and sisters at Chisholm Heights in worship and Bible study. May I slow down enough to listen to your voice. May your Spirit empower me to put into action what you have called me to do. May I make the most of every opportunity to serve and worship the One who is timeless, Amen.

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