From spring training to life

[This is my last Spring Training entry for 2018. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, especially those who followed along on Facebook. Thanks for coming along. Tomorrow we will return to the 12-step theme.]


Okay, now it’s the second watch. It’s still the First Watch restaurant but it’s my second time this weekend. It’s Monday morning and it’s a totally different story here. I have a booth to myself and there are only three other tables taken. Quiet as a mouse. I know I should branch out and try some other places but First Watch handed out a 20% discount card as I left the game yesterday and I couldn’t resist. Good marketing.

I’m trying to figure out what it is I like so much about this weekend. The road trip for sure. The alone time. Sounds selfish but it’s how I’m put together. The breakfast’s out. The baseball games. It really is fun to watch baseball for baseball’s sake. Nothing counts except the experience. And the experience is intimate. You can watch the interaction of players and coaches and fans, and everyone’s having a good time. There’s truly a party atmosphere in the stands. People clap and cheer for all 27 outs made by the home team. You don’t always get that at a regular ball game unless it’s October. These are true fans; no fair weather friends here.

We need more spring training in our lives. We need more enjoyment of things for enjoyment’s sake. Spring training is a little like grace. You get to play but your performance doesn’t count against you. In Friday’s game, Anthony Rizzo, first baseman for the Chicago Cubs, dropped a routine little pop-up. Banged right off the bottom of his glove. He will never miss that ball for the rest of the year. Someone near me called out, “It’s okay, Rizzo; it’s just spring training.” Would that we all had a break like that. Well we do. It’s called grace. God is not keeping a record of our mistakes. He’s not even counting our sins against us. He’s not adding up our wrongs.

So what’s to keep us from sinning big time, since it’s only spring training? Well, heck, don’t you want to make the team? Don’t you want to do the best you can? Since Christ has already done everything, don’t you want to be a part of that? It’s all a part of a mentality change. We’re not trying to see what we can get away with; we’re trying to see what we can contribute to the team. And since it’s all about being available to have God work through us, then all we have to do is show up for life.

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10 Responses to From spring training to life

  1. Jesus Aguilar says:

    John enjoy, yes and your joins is transferred through your words to us. I take from spring training that our lives are about spring training in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, we continually participating learning how to carry the gospel to the next person sitting just next to us. What a wonderful time would be. Spring training for the rest of our lives

  2. Mark D Seguin says:

    Love this analogy of Baseball Spring training!

  3. Sandie says:

    I feel like I’ve been in the big show for a long time, and I have to admit sometimes I get tired of the responsibility.It seems i commit more errors, than well-executed plays. “Can’t someone else sub for me today coach?” Of course, the coach (Jesus) looks at me and tells me to get off the bench and stop feeling sorry for myself.”To whom much is given, much is required.”
    I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to re-invent myself, drag myself back onto the field while exhorting some team-mates to do the same. While I’m feeling sorry for myself, the coach (Jesus) pulls me aside and reminds me of the effort He has put into having a winning team.
    Just like He had a choice – He could have benched Himself and walked away from the cross – so do I have a choice. But then, for me, there is no other choice…”Put me in coach; I’m ready to play the game.” And I pick myself up, slap on a few bandaids,straighten my uniform, dust off the dirt of defeat, square my shoulders. and walk back onto the field, determined not to commit the same errors.
    Being me though, there are plenty of other errors in store for me…but that’s OK…I know the coach (Jesus) well by now…He’s got my back. “Amazing Grace – how sweet the sound…”

    • Jesus Aguilar says:

      Sandie, I am ready to go, let me join your team, let’s call our team the imperfect willing to be perfect just as our Lord and Savior is perfect. Today your sharing brought tears to my eyes and the willingness to dust off and get back in the playing field. I am still mourning one of my brothers, and it is really hard at this moment but life goes on and we are not alone.

  4. Sandie says:

    You’re already on my team Jesus…The Body of Christ. We are all connected through the blood of Jesus our Savior and Lord. Thank you for all your kind words and thoughts…and everyone else’s. Without them it would be lonely indeed out on that ball field we call life. Be still and let our Lord cover you with his courage and hope as you mourn. Blessings.
    Jeremiah 29:11

  5. Gary says:

    Thanks John, I needed this Catch today. I’m rolling though my 62nd year on this earth. There are some wonderful expressions of God’s grace going on in my life right now. You know I’m feeling pretty good, only because of His Grace. Then like a bad pitch to the side of the head, I had a mental flashback today out of nowhere of some very imperfect actions (not criminal) I partook of the year prior to me accepting the Lord. (17th Year) Now I fully know that He has certainly given me His forgiveness and I know that that is the end of it for him. It’s just so hard for me to figure out why that recorder in my head had to review what has been thrown into the sea of forgetfulness. It feels as if there is a need to ask for forgiveness again, but all that would do is display a lack of faith, which I do not have. As you said “God doesn’t keep a record of our mistakes. He’s not even counting our sins against us. He’s not adding up our wrongs.

    • jwfisch says:

      Just thank Him for the forgiveness you already received. Sandie has a good point that God may have let this memory come back so you would have empathy towards someone in a similar predicament.

  6. Sandie says:

    Gary – sometimes we need to really remember who and what we were before Jesus claimed our heart. It’s Satan that tries to lay the guilt trip, and unfortunately too many times we let him hold sway.
    Try looking at your memory in another perspective. It could be that there is someone coming into your life – or even someone who is already there – that will need you to remember all that, so you can lead them through whatever mess they’re in and toward life.
    We need to remember where we came from, not that we revel in it or dwell on it, but so we can feel what they’re feeling and walk alongside them – as I’m sure someone did for you all those years ago.
    When you have these memories, look past them to the grace you received and the wisdom you gained. God can use them mightily if you let him. Be well

    • Sandie says:

      As someone sang, “You can’t bring a cup of cold water to someone if you’ve never thirsted – you can’t heal a heart if your heart has never been broken.”
      We need to stay thirsty and let out heart stay broken; otherwise we could never empathize… check out the Pharisees.
      We need to remember our whole story, not just the parts that make us look good. I think that’s one of the key elements of AA. Remember Romans 8:28 – everything in our life is part of our path to God; therefore, not a bit of it is wasted in His hands.

  7. Nancy says:

    My husband and I are Angels fan so I really enjoy your devotionals from spring training! Plus, it gives me an opportunity to forward these items to him since he’ll be more interested in reading if it has to do with the Angels. Thanks and Go Angels!

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