Growing up my brother Bruce and I watched a lot of baseball. The Atlanta Braves were the team we watched because they were the only ones on television. Guys like Dale Murphey, Bob Horner and Ray Hubbard were just a few of the guys we pulled for. Today it doesn’t matter who the teams are, the sounds of baseball get my blood pumping.
The game of baseball shows the human predicament of trying to measure up to a perfect standard. Baseball is a game of numbers against impossible standards. Everything a baseball players does is added up and written down on paper. For example, a player’s “batting average” (BA) tell us how a player is batting, and it’s carried out to 3 decimal points. No one says, “He bats well.” They say, “he’s batting .265″ or “he’s batting .301.” They are very precise numbers, and there’s no way to pretend to be successful or hide failure.
Funny thing about baseball is no one really does all that well. The very best hitters get about 3 hits every 10 tries (meaning he bats .300). That’s not very good for our present jobs, but if you can get 3 hits out of 10 in baseball, they’ll pay you a million dollars to play. Great baseball players like Mickey Mantle could hit towering home runs from both sides of the plate, but he also struck out 1710 times. You see, no one is very good when measured against the perfect standard of batting 1000. Certainly life is like that mixed with a lot of hits, strike outs and errors.
Much like baseball, the old law measures you against impossible standards. Under the old law you had to bat 1000. You had to be perfect. 3 out of 10 (.300) would still be .700 short.
Thankfully under the new law we’re taught that:
1 – Grace means God will more than fill the gaps in your batting average. It means when you are batting .200 God will hit .1000 or more to cover your gap. Grace means you don’t have to bat 1000, because only God bats 1000 and through Christ, God covers your short falls (2 Corinthians 5:21).
2 – Grace means you always get a second chance. Just like a batter who makes an error and gets a 2nd chance the next inning, God is the God of the second chance. God even established His church for people who’ve made lots of errors (like me). Jesus spent most of his time with people who made lots of errors. People who had gone 0-4 in life. People who had dropped the ball of life. Losers in life like fishermen, prostitutes, tax collectors, poor, diseased, out cast and the lost. But Jesus came to seek and save the lost and he established his church for error prone people like me (Romans 8:1-2). Grace means that in Christ, the score keeper cancels all your errors.
Opening day of baseball is today and I’m ready to see them throw out the first pitch. There will be a lot of people strike out on opening day. By the end of the month no one will be batting a 1000. And in life … no one will be batting 1000 either. Thank GOD for grace.