By Ruth DuCharme
In his writings in the Gospel of the Common Good, Jim Wallis tells a story from his days as a Little League baseball coach. His team of nine-year-olds was down 5-0 in a game, and they were desperate for a win, or at least a little success behind the plate. In this particular game, a rally started in the bottom half of the order with their weakest hitter coming up to bat.
Two kids had gotten on with walks, and then Stefan came up to the plate. Stefan was the least experienced player on the team. A young boy from Britain, Stefan had never played baseball before and was often clueless about the fundamentals of the game. But somehow he hit the ball, and it went into the outfield. The first two runners scored, and Stefan ended up at second base.
Being from a polite British Commonwealth family and culture, Stefan began to walk over to the shortstop and second baseman to shake their hands. Coach Wallis yelled to Stefan, "You have to stay on the base!" "Oh," Stefan said, "I've never been here before." On that night, the team celebrated an 11-6 comeback win. They found victory and hope from an unlikely teammate.
When I read this story, I found many metaphors for my life and for the life of our church, but the one that struck me the deepest was Stefan's statement, "I've never been here before." It made me think about all of the times that I have failed to step up to the plate, and of the times that I have failed to take a swing at trying something that God might want me to do. What blessings have I missed because I was too scared or too intimidated to give it a try?
This story led me to ask myself the question, "Where does God want to take me?" When I become content with where I am spiritually, I am failing to let God take me to new places and experience new depths. When I find myself too busy to extend grace or involve myself in worship and prayer, I am failing to let God's kingdom reside in me.
Where does God want to take you? Where does God want to take us as the body of Christ at Highland Hills Baptist Church? Sitting on the bench will get you nowhere. It is time to step up to the plate. It is time to take a swing at deepening our faith, and finding God's kingdom as we stand in new places.