About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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Church Is Like Baseball


This week the voices of pro-baseball umpires shouting "play ball" will echo throughout our stadiums.  These seemingly eternal words will not only announce the end of winter; they will usher in a new season where hope of victory springs eternal. 


In 1978 I became an avid Montreal Expo fan, something I sadly missed after moving to Virginia in 1980.  Upon returning to Canada in 1984 I switched my primary baseball loyalty to the Toronto Blue Jays.  It was in 1985 when every Blue Jay fan's hope-filled heart was crushed beyond any cure.  After being up three games to zero to the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series, the Jays lost four games in a row.  We were deluged in a cloud of confusion, in a daze for days.  Were the Royals really that good, or was it first-time jitters on the part of the Jays?  I choose to believe it was first-time jitters, but what do I know?  I'm a Jays fan.  The upstart Jays were knocked out of the playoffs and a trip to the World Series died in dreadful defeat, but that's the nature of both life and sports.  Hope in the spring does not necessary lead to victory in the fall.  


The apostle Paul compared the Christian life to a marathon race.  I compare the church to baseball, and here is why.  1 Corinthians 12 provides the pattern for church and it looks a lot like a baseball team to me.  According to 1 Corinthians 12:4 through 6, God has given each of us a talent, Jesus has designated each of us a ministry position, while the Holy Spirit offers us gifts to play our position, all of which are meant to benefit the team we call church.            


Each baseball player has his own specific position to play on the field.  To the best of their ability, a pitcher pitches and a catcher catches as individual players.  On the other hand, a pitcher will throw the ball to his first-base teammate to catch the runner leaning too far off first.  A catcher will throw the ball to his second-baseman to prevent the runner from stealing second.  Church and baseball are alike in that both are a blend of individual performance and collaborative teamwork.     


Paul's analogy of a runner running a race paints the picture of the Christian life where we persevere until we cross the finish line.  My analogy of baseball portrays the church as individuals performing our best at our God-appointed ministry positions with those to whom Jesus has called us alongside on His team that we call church.  Church is a Biblical blend of individualism and communalism, neither takes precedent over the other.   

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