Over a seven-year period, Ron had logged hundreds of hours in batting practice and taken countless bus trips to minor league ballparks. Through it all, he endeavored to be the best baseball player possible.
Then one night The Call came. He was to report to the Seattle Mariners the following day. He immediately telephoned his wife and parents to share the excitement of the moment.
Wright was penciled into the starting lineup right away. A number of rookies have hit a homerun in their first at bat; Ron struck out. His next chance came in the fourth inning, with runners on first and third. Unbelievably, he hit into a triple play. Opportunity came knocking once again in the sixth inning. This time he hit into a double play. He was taken out of the game after that and sent back to the minor leagues, never to return. Unbeknownst to him, he had set a Major League baseball record. He had caused six outs in his three at bats in the majors. What a thing to be remembered for. What a loser!
I say “loser” in the sense of the world’s value system. “Playing baseball, don’t get me wrong, was what I lived for a long time,” Ron says. “But there are more important things. My wife and kids, family, things like that. It’s about perspective.”
Yes, the world will always remember Ron as a loser, but when you consider the many superstars whose lives have been marred by extreme selfishness, pride and internal misery—who is the winner and who is the loser? The fact of the matter is that the world’s value system is usually “out of left field.”
In God’s economy, failures actually play a very important role in the lives of the saints. In fact, so much good can come out of failure that I dare say it is an integral part of the believer’s overall victory. Failing isn’t the issue; dealing with it in the right way is the important thing.
The Christian life is one long war with the world, the flesh and the devil. It goes without saying that countless battles make up a war. To expect to go through a lifelong war without losses is unrealistic, even prideful. Every believer will have his setbacks—what sets the victorious believer apart from the defeated one is that when he falls down, he doesn’t stay down. He gets right back up and gets back on track!
Returning to our baseball metaphor, good managers are not concerned about a hitter’s batting average—something which can be affected by a number of uncontrollable factors. A successful manager is more interested in the batter’s footwork, the stroke of his swing, his eye and hand coordination. He knows if the ballplayer will get the fundamentals right, the batting average will take care of itself in the long run.
The Lord takes the same approach with us. “God sees not as man sees,” said Samuel; “for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) He is mostly concerned about what is going on inside of us. Are we being honest with ourselves or are we self-deceived? Are we willing to acknowledge our failings or do we look to minimize and blame-shift? Are we fighting lustful thoughts or are we regularly indulging them? Get the fundamentals of the heart right and the outward behavior will take care of itself in the long run.
I will mention one final side-note about Ron Wright: in spite of his miserable performance that evening, the Mariners went on to win the game, putting him on an elite shortlist of Major League ballplayers who hung up their cleats with an undefeated record!
And so it will be for all sincere believers. Yes, there will be many disappointing times when we can’t seem to do anything right. But when the final scorecard is filled out, the blood of Christ will assure us of an undefeated record!
What a Loser!,Share