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In the Good Old Summertime

Summer is a great season for all things outdoors. And, we Americans do love time outdoors!  The long days provide “free time” after work for time with family, gardening, yard work, sports, or taking in a concert in the park, or cooking out for a picnic with friends.  There are days on the lake skiing, fishing, and just cruising the waters. And, vacation time comes at last!

The great American pastime in the summer is baseball. Whether it is playing the game as a youngster, watching your local farm league team, or traveling to a nearby city to see the pro’s play it at its best, it is truly America’s summertime favorite. Many Americans are not really aware of all that is happening in a regular ballgame with various coaches using their collective strategies to move players and plays like a sophisticated chess match.  Those that are informed get great enjoyment trying to figure out what the coach is thinking with various plays, substitutions, and precarious moments when fans may “boo” because they do not understand what the coach is setting up for the clincher.

Dave Boswell tells a story about Earl Weaver, former manager of the Baltimore Orioles. Sports fans will enjoy how he handled star Reggie Jackson.

Weaver had a rule that no one could steal a base unless given the steal sign. This upset Jackson because he felt he knew the pitchers and catchers well enough to judge who he could and could not steal off of.  So, one game he decided to steal without a sign.

He got a good jump off the pitcher and easily beat the throw to second base. As he shook the dirt off his uniform, Jackson smiled with delight, feeling he had vindicated his judgment to his manager.

Later Weaver took Jackson aside and explained why he hadn’t given the steal sign. First, the next batter was Lee May, his best power hitter other than Jackson. When Jackson stole second, first base was left open, so the other team walked May intentionally, taking the bat out of his hands.

Second, the following batter hadn’t been strong against that pitcher, so Weaver felt he had to send up a pinch hitter to try to drive in the men on base. That left Weaver without bench strength later in the game when he needed it.

The problem was, Jackson saw only his relationship to the pitcher and catcher. Weaver was watching the whole game.

We, too, see only so far, but God sees the bigger picture. When he sends us a signal, it’s wise to obey, no matter what we may think WE know.  Marty Masten.

How many times have we made decisions hastily on our perception rather than waiting on God’s direction?  We see for the moment. God sees for eternity. We see life based on our interests.  God has positioned us to do His will for the greater good.  We live wanting to seize what we appears to be an “easy win”.  God knows what is best for us and desires to build our character more than just meet our fleeting wants.  Like children, we are terribly impatient though we tell everyone we are children of the God of all eternity and our desire is to do His will!  Better be sure we are attentive and have His “sign” to advance to the next base lest we find that our strategy was not His!