About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
And The Body Of Christ
While jogging the streets
in 1978 I used to hear a radio on someone's porch broadcasting Montreal
Expos baseball games. One
day I decided to tune into the game for myself.
I've been a baseball fan ever since.
I'll never forget the
afternoon in October 1981 while working with my friend Bill Freeman in
his upholstery shop in Richmond, Virginia. It made no sense for us to
continue working. Our eyes
were fixated on the TV. It
was the top of the 9th inning of game 5 of the best of 5 NLCS.
Rick Monday, of the Los Angeles Dodgers, broke the tie with a
home run. The Expos couldn't
come back in the bottom of the 9th inning.
L A beat
As I write this article
in August, 2015, the recent success of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball
team is the talk of
traditionalists say that pitching and defense wins games.
Earl Weaver, former bench coach of the Baltimore Orioles during
the 1980's, maintained that the three run homer wins games.
Others say small ball wins games. I
say it's more than offensive, defensive, and home runs, that wins
The casual observer might
think that the success of a baseball team is determined by the players
on the field, but that's not so. A
baseball team consists of more than the 25 players on the roster, or the
40 players on the post September 1st roster.
On August 1, 2014, many
Toronto Blue Jay players were openly upset that Jays general manager
Alex Anthopoulos failed to make any player trades before the July 31st
non-waver trade deadline. Jays
right fielder and home run champion, Jose Bautista, publically expressed
his frustration with Anthopoulus for not improving the team via a trade
or free agency.
The general manager of a
baseball team doesn't hit fast balls or sliders, but he is a crucial
player to a successful team. He
works all year long. Acquisitions
and trades are made in winter as well as summer.
He works the phone day and night, searching for the next big
deal. This year Alex
Anthopoulus sent his wife and child on a vacation to Portugal
so he could devote his full attention to making trades prior to the
non-waver trade deadline. There
was one night that he never even slept.
He made the biggest trade in his career, getting David Price, the
best pitcher in baseball, from the Tigers, and that at 3 in the morning.
Jose Bautista didn't complain this year. Even though the boys of
summer play the game between the lines from April to October; the
business of baseball is played all year long.
Besides the general
manager there's the owner of the team, the president, the bench coach,
the assistant bench coach, the batting coach, the pitching coach, the
base coaches, the trainers, the team doctor, the equipment manager and
staff, the logistics manager and staff, the grounds crew, the business
manager and staff, all of the owners, coaches, managers, and players on
the farm teams, the scouts who travel the world, and the fans who sit in
the stands buying the team's memorabilia.
Clearly, there's more to a baseball team that what meets the eye.
I believe that if the
Apostle Paul was alive today, and if he had the time, he'd be a sports
fan. His sports analogy in 1
Corinthians 9:24 suggests that to me.
For Paul, teamwork was vital, as seen in 1 Corinthians 12 where
he says that Team Jesus (he doesn't actually say those exact words)
consists of various people with various gifts and various duties.
As in baseball, we're not all home run hitters, strike out
pitchers, or base stealers. Each
one of us has a gift that is expected to be used for the success of the
team, or in this case, the success of the Body of Christ.
No one is to sit on the bench watching others doing the work.
In 1 Corinthians 12:13
Paul says that the believer has been baptized into Christ's body.
Paul isn't talking about water baptism here.
He's not talking about joining a church, going to church, or
making church a casual concern. He's
talking about being immersed in church, being saturated with the
companionship of those to whom Jesus has joined us in the Body of
writings he admonishes his teammates to live a life of godly character.
As in baseball, motivation, selflessness, persistence, hard work,
and loyalty, are essential for success.
In 1 Corinthians 12:21
Paul says that the eye can't tell the hand it isn't needed.
In verse 23 he says that the parts of the Body of Christ that
aren't seen are just as important as those who are seen.
Everyone has an important role to play. No
one is excluded.
I have one question.
How is it that we understand how a successful baseball team works
but we don't seem to understand how a successful Team Jesus works?