Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Baseball, Streaking, and the Christian Life

At one point this season, Royals centerfielder Lorenzo Cain had a 12 for 18 streak. That streak* was filled with homeruns, doubles, and more than one clutch RBI. When interviewed during this streak, Cain commented that the ball was coming to him looking like a beach ball. His comment got me thinking about living the Christian life.

I’ve actually experienced the beach-ball effect. At one point during my senior year of high school (the last year I played hardball) I had a similar streak to Cain’s. As I watched the ball come to the plate it seemed to grow at the same rate as the Grinch’s heart. It’s easy to hit a baseball when you see it this clearly.

I’m not in the major leagues.

That is because for the most part I’m a terrible hitter. Typically the ball looks like a deflated ping pong ball. And that (among other things) is what separates me from major league stars. Any schmuck can hit a ball when it looks three sizes too big. What separates the big boys of summer from the mustard-stained amigo on the couch is how you hit when the ball is normal—or even when it appears smaller than normal.

3 Lessons From the Beach Ball

I believe you could use this analogy for a number of things. You could talk about pastoring in the difficult times, parenting when your kids seem like monkeys hopped up on energy drinks, being a good friend when your buddy is a jerk, or remaining faithful as a spouse when times get really tough. You can apply it many ways. Here are three general lessons that I draw from the beach ball.
  1. It’s not the hot streaks but the day to day faithfulness to Jesus that will define me. The world might view us based upon our best day or on our worst day. But the Lord (and history) seems to view the entire trajectory of our lives. If I’m amazing at being a husband for three months after attending a seminar, but I’m a terrible specimen of a man the other nine months I’ll be defined as a husband that blew it.
  2. How I respond in the cold streaks matter. If I give up and wait until the beach ball moments come back I’ve blown it. I think about this with writing. Sometimes it comes with ease. Other times it feels like I can’t even write my name. Yet I keep plodding along.
  3. Am I taking advantage of those beach balls? Listen if the Lord gives you an overflow of grace you had better use it up. It’s like manna—it’s meant for today. If the ball feels like a beach ball don’t stand at the plate with the bat on your shoulder looking for a walk, get after it. You know that the streak won’t last—that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of it. Some people can’t enjoy the view from the mountain because they see the valley right around the corner.
If you’re having a beach ball experience then enjoy it and use it for God’s glory. If things are coming a little more difficult keep plodding along. Take heart in knowing that the most important aspect of your faith is it’s unchanging object.

Keep on swinging whether it looks like a beach ball or not.
*Did you think I meant a different type of streaking? Silly rabbit…


  1. I played ball myself, so I really liked your article. Where does excessive pine tar fit into all of this? :-)

    1. LOL. Is there such a thing as excessive pine tar? I mean George was clearly within the legal limit.



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