Bottom of the 9th, #12 - Balls and Strikes and Oddballs

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Bottom of the 9th - Balls and Strikes and Oddballs

Balls and Strikes and Oddballs by Tom Walters

     One of mom's best teaching techniques was to ask us questions to make us think.  I remember her asking once, "How many ways can He assemble two eyes, two ears, a nose and a mouth?"  Makes you think doesn't it?  I think the maternal mantra I heard most often growing up was, "What were you thinking?"  (but that's the basis for all kinds of other unrelated stories!).  What Mom wanted us to ponder when she asked about God's assembly line is that He made each of us wonderfully unique.  I can remember in High School, how important it was to fit in, and all of the ribbing that kids got when they were different in look or action or dress (is ribbing even the right word in 2013?).  We went to endless lengths to have the right bat and hat and mitt, to have the right haircut and clothes, etc.  Later in life, a slow transformation took place.  During that time, Mom's be yourself lesson started to sink in. Believe it or not, that was one of the hardest lessons I've ever learned.  God made each of us unique, in His image, and loves us individually.  

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created. Genesis 1:27 ESV

     Another of Mom's favorite techniques for getting us to think, was to send us newspaper clippings that she wanted us to read (her version of forwarding an email).  One of my favorites was an article that her friend, Father Tom Haffey wrote.  In that article, Father Haffey passed along an excerpt written by Pastor and author A.W. Tozer. 

“Christians have been taught to be odd, wonderfully odd, out-of-sync-with-the-world odd.  We have love for someone we have never seen, talk to someone daily we cannot see, expect to go to heaven on the work of someone else (Jesus) and empty ourselves to be full.  We admit we are wrong to be right, go down in order to go up, are strongest when we are weak, and richest when we are poor. We die in order to live, give up in order to have; we see the invisible, hear the inaudible, and know what surpasses knowledge.  We are not better, but wonderfully odd in a world that praises riches, romance, and fame.  We are odd, as opposed to indifferent.  One of the definitions of "indifferent" is about having "no particular interest in or concern for."  It is spiritual apathy.  In a world that is passionate about family, politics or a game, Christians are passionate about faithfulness to a Gospel and a community that gathers in honor of God once a week.  That is odd as opposed to indifferent.  It is that oddness that makes all the difference in the world.†(Father Tom Haffey - Butte, Montana)

     In this great game of baseball, you put on a uniform to identify yourself as a member of a team.  Each player has a unique position on the field, or in the dugout.  Each player has a unique role and makes a unique contribution to the team.  No team is complete without the unique contributions of its players, isn't that just like life?  We put on God's uniform and play for Him.  

     Did you know that baseball is the only modern day sport directly referenced in the bible? In Genesis it says, "In the big inning" ... Mom gets no blame for my corny sense of humor, that's my unique gift from God!

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