This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you. Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely rescue us. (Isaiah 36:14-15)
Relate: The month of September is winding down. As much as I am now living as an expat in Istanbul, fall still means only two things for me. 1) Watching the colors change and the temperature cool down. Although I don’t get to see the trees turning from green to a multiplicity of yellows, oranges, browns, and reds, it has been pleasant to have temperatures that occasionally drop down into the low 70’s for a change. The other thing is baseball. It comes that time where most teams fade into irrelevance and I get to watch my Yankees push their way as far as they will into the post season.
That said, I happened to “stumble upon” a couple old articles from that bastion of idiotic baseball commentary called the bleacher report. While it didn’t surprise me that The Trade was being talked about in yet another article, what did surprise me was that it was considered the second worst trade in baseball history. Seriously?!?!? What possible trade could be considered worse? What I read shocked and horrified me. Some idiot actually thinks that trading John Tudor for Vlad Guerrero was a worse trade? I am guessing that nineteen out of twenty of you don’t even know what teams were involved or what positions these guys played. Fortunately that columnist no longer works for bleacher report now is only a college basketball writer. Apparently he isn’t allowed near baseball anymore.
I digress. What I really wanted to bring up a quote by a former teammate of Ruth’s. Tris Speaker and the Babe were both on the Red Sox world champion team one hundred years ago. Shortly after that season was done, Speaker was traded to the Indians where he remained as a player then a manager until he retired. As a player/manager he made a comment to the media about the Red Sox decision to start playing Babe Ruth in the outfield on the days he wasn’t pitching. He said, “Ruth made a grave mistake. Working once a week, he might have lasted a long time and become a great star.” In the history of dumb things said about baseball, Speaker’s comment ranks right up there with Josh Benjamin saying the Tudor/Guerrero trade was worse than the Ruth for… a broadway flop.
React: Speaking of dumb statements, Sennacharib’s representative gave us a pretty big one. Like Tris Speaker, he probably thought he was being wise and saying only common sense. We’ve got a big army, we’ve taken tough cities before. Jerusalem will be no different. No one else’s god has been able to stop us, neither will yours.
Before a game, responding to critics, Babe Ruth once simply said, “watch my dust.” Then he went out there and did what he does best… hit home runs. God’s response to the Assyrian army was pretty much the same. He begins: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee.” And he ends: “For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.”
We will face critics. As we walk this adventurous road of following Jesus, it will take us places that to others will look foolish, stupid, and irresponsible. There will be other times when we might step out in what we think is obedience only to be wrong. In those times, perhaps a little more advice from the Great Bambino: I swing as hard as I can, and I try to swing right through the ball… I swing big, with everything I’ve got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can.”
Swing away. Sometimes you might feel foolish as you put everything into it only to hear the sound of that ball hitting the leather of the catcher’s mitt behind you. So straighten up and swing again. You will never accomplish anything keeping that bat on your shoulders, but when you swing at what God has given you… you will make history hitting home runs.
God, I am giving it everything I’ve got. Sometimes I will get it wrong. In fact, most of the time I feel like I am getting it wrong. That is OK. Help me to keep swinging. Help me to keep giving it everything I’ve got. It only takes one swing to make a game changing connection. Help me to realize that failure is better than inaction. And finally, take my efforts… and send it over the fence.