Monday, August 8, 2011

The Sacrifce Bunt

In the current sermon series I’m preaching, we learned that the sole goal and responsibility of the leadoff man in baseball is to get on first base. After getting on base, the next batter must strive to get the leadoff man into scoring position. With no outs, the best way to get the runner into scoring position, getting them to statically the desirable position to score is the sacrifice bunt.  For those who know nothing of baseball, the sacrifice bunt is where the batter takes a different stance and lightly hits the ball, so the infielder can get it and throw him out a first which advances the leadoff man to second.  When the batter bunts, he is trying to get out advancing his teammate into scoring position. If you have never played baseball, bunting is hard to do. You must expose yourself to the pitcher, when one squares away, you expose your intentions, and it ruins your own personal statics. A well timed, well placed bunt is not flashy. People in the stands don’t tend to get excited or cheer for a well-placed bunt.  ESPN doesn’t show highlights of greatest bunts. We want to see the home run hit. In a game where success, fame, and money are stressed on individual statics and achievements, a sacrifice bunt is not helpful to one’s contract negotiations.  I have yet to hear of a manager sign a contract for a player that is just a good bunter. I cannot name on person that became famous because of their bunting abilities. Yes, there are good hitters that can bunt well, but no one wants to be the guy who has to sacrifice bunt. If you ask most baseball players they would rather try to get a hit than bunt.

Our culture that we live in celebrates, rewards, and glorifies personal statics and achievements. We reward those who do what they do and do it well. In our personal careers we are evaluated, valued, and accepted by our personal statics and achievements. It begins to define who we are. We all want bigger and greater. This works for preachers too, I have yet to hear a minister of a large church not tell me within two minutes of any conversation how many members they have in their church. Listen carefully next time you hear a pastor of a mega church and you’ll hear the number, I’ll guarantee it. I’ll admit it most preachers don’t like to sacrifice bunt either. We begin to value our self-worth by such goals. As a society we cheer the runner as he crosses the plate but rarely acknowledge the guy who laid down the sacrifice bunt. 

There are crossroad moments in our lives that we must choose to do something for ourselves or sacrifice for others. I have found that these moments define who we are. I can recall these crossroads moments in my life where my life could go one way or the other. The problem is I struggled just like everyone else, I don’t want to sacrifice bunt. I want or need to swing for the fences; I want the attention of hitting the home run. I want people to acknowledge and celebrate my accomplishments, I want to improve my individual statics and Christ keeps asking me to lay down the bunt. When we sacrifice for others, it pleases Christ, but not necessarily brings about fame and fortune. When we sacrifice bunt for others, we find something more valuable. There is something intrinsic about sacrificing for others. The ability to give up a little of our self to influence someone else’s life is the greatest feeling in the world. It is a blessing upon all blessings. Even if we feel we have nothing to give, we can all lay down a sacrifice bunt to advance others. In the processes we may find we all win in this game of life. I have come to give thanks to God for these reoccurring crossroad moments, where I am reminded of the bigger game. The bunt may not be glorious but necessary to win the game.

Peace & Grace,

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