No Call to the Bullpen


I was a sports fan watching game 7 of the World Series this week along with millions of others.  I had no horse in this race so watched with enjoyment, uneffected by what the outcome would be.  I got to thinking about the strategies and thoughts that drove the decision-making of the two opposing managers, and one aspect of all the decisions they had to make leads to this post.

One manager called upon several players within his bullpen to step up in different circumstances while the other manager depended heavily on one player only.  The TV commentators pointed out that the latter appeared to have very little confidence in his bullpen, and the decision to ride the one horse almost backfired on him.  This led to a spirited conversation with a friend as we discussed a metaphor that came from this scenario.

As a former athlete and coach, I love sports, but only because I see so many ways it can translate into life.  Funny….I’m sitting in a local coffee shop and three women who appear to be in their 60’s just sat down next to me as I typed that last line and they’re talking about a “stupid decision” a coach made last night with their team down on the 2 yard line.  Sports can consume and it can distract us, but it can also make us feel passion…and passion is such a beautiful thing to feel.  I have no idea why I am describing the scene at the table next to me…but the timing was interesting so I included it.

So back to the World Series…

I began to consider the fact that several players…professional players mind you…players that have committed to developing their skills to play at the highest level possible…found themselves on the largest stage at the highest level possible.  However, when circumstances came into play where their role was required to contribute…no call was made to the bullpen for their number.  Why is that?  Why did their manager not consider their services to be an option when outcomes were on the line?

This got me to thinking…and sometimes I really don’t want to deal with the conclusions I come to…

What about me?  Am I ready when my services are being required?  When outcomes are undecided in something taking place in my home, with my family…is my head in the game?  Am I mentally sharp?  What about as a friend in my sphere of influence?  Am I aware of what’s going on around me in my friends lives?  Can I be counted on during moments when outcomes hang in the balance?  Do I even have a clue what’s going on in their life?

What about work… Ehhh, I don’t want to talk about work…

As I walk through my day, am I aware of the game situation I am in?  Do I pick up on the signs I see with people who I cross paths with?  Have I been practicing with the proper fundamentals I wrote about a few weeks ago?  Am I ready if my number is called?

Everything I write about always has that point where I say, “what about you?”  What thoughts confront you?  Challenge you?  Are you ready to be called on in circumstances today where outcomes hang in the balance, or will you find yourself sitting on the bench as someone else gets that call?

EA Sports, a popular video game company, use to have this slogan (and maybe they still do). It went like this, “EA Sports; Get in the game!” If we take an honest look at our situation, is our head in the game? Are we mentally sharp and prepared for whenever our number may be called?

We aren’t called to be superstars in every facet of life.  Sometimes, we’re just Matt Doherty.  Huh?  Sorry, I lost some of you so let me briefly explain who Matt Doherty is.  He was a very good role player on the 1982 NCAA national championship North Carolina Tar Heels men’s basketball team.  Fans of that time period will remember some of his more famous teammates…future 1st Round NBA selections such as Sam Perkins…James Worthy…and a freshman by the name of Michael Jordan.  However, Matt Doherty was a very instrumental player in determining the outcome for that team.  He never went on to greatness at the next level in basketball, but I think he’s probably found greatness in one of the games he is being called to play in now.

So whatever roll we find ourselves in, I hope you’re prepared for when your number is needed.  I hope the Manager can look into your eyes and see that “something” that makes him consider your number and leads to that call to the bullpen when your team needs you.

Some additional thoughts…

This morning as I drove to my favorite Friday morning coffee shop, I considered the thoughts written in this blog.  There’s always a different way of looking at things and I wanted to examine if anything I am thinking really had a biblical foundation to stand on.

What came to me on this morning drive was the scene in Ezekiel 22:30.  This has always been a challenging scene for me personally because, as I read it, God is pretty fed up with His people in Jerusalem because of their rebellion.  He’s about ready to bring a cup of shut-up to the nation through judgment, and He says to Ezekiel, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”

In this scene, I picture God looking down toward the bullpen and he sees no one prepared to step in on behalf of the people to intercede.

I believe that followers of Christ have been strategically positioned to stand in the gap for marriages, families, friends, communities, nations…  Is our head in the game?  Do we discern the game situations?  Does the Father look into our eyes and see that we are ready, filled with the Spirit, filled with faith, ready to place our trust in Him that He knows exactly what He’s doing when He calls our number?

My prayer is that you are ready…that I am ready.  Such a time as this is why we were created.

Thanks for your time.





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