When I was a little boy, I remember
spring little league tryouts. I remember how nervous I got waiting to go out on
the field in front of all of the coaches. I remember thinking..."do I really
want to play baseball?" Then it was my turn. I went out on the diamond to the
short stop position. I hit my fist into my glove a couple of times to show I was
ready. The coach at home plate hit a ball my way. I went for it with the zeal of
a pro! Unfortunately, though, it took a little hop right over my glove and
rolled into the outfield! Another ball was hit toward me. I stopped it, but
fumbled with it before throwing it over the first baseman's head. I fielded the
next couple of balls o.k. I didn't totally blow it. The coach told me I
could leave. I went to my parents, who had been watching. I knew that they knew
I hadn't done so well. I knew they knew I would probably play, but not be highly
sought after by the coaches. By that one little tryout, I had been
branded...AVERAGE. What the coaches didn't know though, was how much I practiced
by myself, and with my family, at home. They didn't know I spent literally hours
practicing my batting, with no one forcing me to do so. They didn't know I
really was above average in the area of fielding grounders, fly balls, line
drives, bouncers, you name it. All they knew was what they saw at the
tryout! They were judging everything about me, by that one tryout! They thought
they had me pegged. They thought they knew me! They didn't. They only thought
they did. You see, I played very well in the season. I had a great batting
average. I was a formidable weapon on the field (at least that's how I remember
it). I caught almost everything that came my way that season. I turned out to be
a very fast throwing pitcher. I actually was asked by other players to play on
their teams! I wasn't average. I was better than that. I was a competitor. My
team was made up of seemingly average players like me. That season...we won
almost all of our games. The coaches who had branded us average, winced almost
visibly when we beat their teams of all stars. Funny how that can happen. When
we judge a person upon one encounter. Sure, the encounter may reveal some
weaknesses. The encounter may cause us to be a little wary. But, the encounter
shouldn't be the end of the story!
Jesus encountered a lot of "average"
people while He was on earth. During His ministry years He spent a great deal of
time talking to them. He spent a great deal of time praying for them. He chose
his TEAM from among average people. The fact is, we know that God is no
respecter of persons. He doesn't look at the outward appearance. He looks at the
heart. That's why to Jesus, no one is "average"! Everyone is blessed with
the ingredients to be above average. In reality, God created us to be excellent.
It was Satan who perverted things. He is the one who tempts us to "be all
we can be"...apart from God! Who said, "I will never leave you, or
forsake you"? It definitely wasn't the enemy of your soul! It was God! We also
know, "that if God be for us, who can be against us"! Philippians 4:13 says, "I
can do all things through Christ who gives me strength"!
As a little boy, trying out for the
team, I felt inadequate. I was intimidated by the other players, and coaches. I
performed poorly based upon one concept...FEAR. I couldn't measure up then, and
I can't measure up now...at least not in my own strength. Figuratively
speaking, I had lost the game, before the first pitch ever crossed the plate!
Unfortunately, so many Christ followers today are living in this type of defeat.
They are believing a lie which torments them. The Bible clearly tells us in 1
John 4:18, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out all fear, for
fear involves torment". In the prior verse, it says this, "Love has been
perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of
judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world". To me that
means I can walk in confidence, knowing that it is CHRIST in me who accomplishes
the task! Simply stated, I don't have to rely on my abilities (or lack thereof)
to make the cut! Winning, holiness, righteousness, peace, and ALL the gifts of
God are basically mine as a function of TRUST and OBEDIENCE! Stephen was the
first recorded martyr in the Bible. He was full of FAITH and POWER. He trusted
in the LORD JESUS CHRIST with ALL of his heart! He loved his neighbor as
himself. He obeyed the SPIRIT of GOD no matter what! Ultimately, he was obedient
unto death. I pray we can be like Stephen. May we be full of FAITH! May we be
full of POWER! May we be compelled by the same LOVE that held Jesus on the
cross! If so, we will not be tormented, regardless of what happens to our
bodies. We will not be controlled by fear, for fear will not have any place in
our thoughts...why? Because we will have the mind of Christ! May the church be
submitted to the Father's will. May the church function as the body of Christ.
May we come FULLY under His authority, and obey Him at all cost. Until next
time, be blessed with God's BEST, and walk as HE walked.
Under His Mission...
Your Partner in Ministry,