There are times when we are the star on the field, leading the way to victory and other times when we take a back seat on the bench building up and encouraging others towards success. Wherever the Lord would have you, He desires to use you in that place. You may have a love that He wishes to use in a much different way then you expect. Will you have the willingness to follow Him where He leads? Will you adjust and yield to His will?
Although the snow is still falling here in Mundy’s Corner pitchers and catchers are reporting for duty in sunny Florida. We may all be huddling for warmth but it is comforting to know that somewhere the great game of baseball is being played. I absolutely loved baseball growing up. I played other sports but I didn’t find any more enjoyment or success than in baseball. My dad and I worked continuously to fine tune my pitching skills. This is what I thought I was good at and what I wanted to do. Up through high school I had a deep love for the game of baseball that would soon be tested. During my junior year I was benched! I had been a starter my entire life. I saw an infinite amount of playing time up to this point but now for different reasons I was sidelined. I was devastated and discouraged! I questioned God, “Why is this happening to me!? Don’t you want me to use the talent You gave me?? What good am I doing on the bench??” As the season continued, games passed, and the splinters came, I struggled with this position I was put in. I battled quitting and contemplated giving up altogether. Sadly, in my selfishness and pride, I didn’t consider the fact that the Lord wanted to use me in a much different way than I planned.
The summer following my junior year I knew the Lord was calling me to full-time ministry. I desired to be used fully by Him which meant giving up many of the plans that I had for my life. My senior year I had a new attitude going into the baseball season. Yes, I still wanted to play and practiced hard to be noticed. Yes, I was upset when I found myself on the bench again but this time I was ready to see what the Lord would have for me from the sidelines. My prayers changed from, “Lord, just let me play!” to “Lord, how do you want to use me on the bench?” 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all things to the glory of God.” There are many athletes who point to this verse as a motivation to let their actions on the field be a testament to God and not themselves. The Lord, however, wanted to show me during this time that there was a way for me to bring Him glory, not as the star on the field, but as the faithful on the bench. As I sat the bench I found myself having significant conversations with those around me. I was able to encourage those who were sidelined themselves or build up the ones on the field. Others began to notice not my talent on the field but my attitude in the dugout. Soon one of the assistant coaches (knowing my involvement in our school’s Bible club) asked if I would hold a time of prayer for our team before each game. I couldn’t believe the opportunities the Lord was opening up for me from the bench! I received prayer requests from guys that had never stepped in a church or had anyone pray for them. When I was willing to follow the Lord’s leading He lead me to an impact much grander than stats in a book. I learned humility and service on the bench and this was exactly where God wanted me.
We may have talents and abilities but the Lord isn’t so much concerned with our ability as He is with our availability. He has placed us in our positions in the home, at work, in our church as glamorous or unglamorous as they may be in order to show Him off! Are you willing for Him to use you in the way that He wants? Look to Him today.
For His Glory, Pastor Rudy