I hope you’ve had a great week. It’s baseball season in my house. The season opened on Tuesday night and now Big Blue is already 2-0, with game three this afternoon. It is a gift to be outside even when it’s cold, to hear our National Anthem, to cheer on live action with other fans (parents and students). Nate has been playing baseball with some of these guys since sixth grade, and it’s fun to see that they are now skilled men playing a game that is full of defeat with such grace.
Al Spalding said: “Baseball is a man maker.” And it’s true. Baseball is a man maker because even the very best batters fail more than they succeed — nobody bats .500. Tiny errors often cost the whole game, and pitchers endure tremendous pressure to “pound the zone.” You don’t get to quit after striking out, or giving up a a grand slam, or throwing the ball over the first baseman’s head. You keep playing. You get back in there. You move on.
What a life lesson! Whether you fail, or you are mistreated, or you regret your own choices, get back in there. Churchill said, “Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” I think we Americans need a stiff cocktail of baseball resolve and Churchill toughness.
Plus, the Bible warns against bitter roots, and yet bitter roots are ubiquitous. Everyone is bitter about something. By God’s grace, generally that is not my disposition. But sometimes I find myself feeling bitter about people being bitter. How self-defeating is that? The book of Hebrews talks about being anointed with the oil of gladness. My destiny and purpose are in Christ. My identity is in Christ. Christ is my joy — He anoints me with gladness. But bitter roots choke out joy. The secret to happiness is rooting out the bitter roots.
Hebrews 12:15: “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
America 2021 is a vivid display of the trouble caused by bitter roots. How can we be ministers of God’s grace in helping to uproot bitterness in our hearts and in those around us? The command is clear: we are to SEE to it.