Last week we started a series titled H.W.J.C.? - short for How Would Jesus Coach? We examined how Jesus “coached” the Adulterous Woman through her mistakes, and we continue the series by looking at the most important symbol of the Christian faith - Christ on the Cross. It’s almost cliche to mention the sacrifice bunt when connecting baseball to Christ. Within the game, there is really no better picture of one man laying down his life for his brother. Our Valor Baseball team this spring set a rather unique program record - the most sacrifice bunts in a single season. The funny thing about was that they obliterated the record by more than doubling the mark of any previous team. Was this willingness to sacrifice a key to the success of their state title? Quite possibly.
If it’s been a while since you’ve read the story of Christ’s Crucifixion, read Luke 23:26-43before you continue. Here we see Christ carrying his cross and the scene on the cross where Christ interacts with the two criminals. Christ on the Cross is the ultimate picture of sacrifice. Jesus lived the perfect life, the life none of us could live, so that he could serve as the perfect connection between the Father and all of us. He drops the bunt down, gives himself up, and allows us the opportunity to move “home.”
People standing by in the crowd, the soldiers, and one of the criminals mock Christ, repeatedly telling him to “save himself.” I can’t help but wonder if opposing teams and players would mock our team as we laid down a sacrifice bunt nearly every single time our leadoff runner would reach first base. The fruit of sacrifice is not immediate, but rather a delayed gratification.
It’s easy to see how players can sacrifice themselves for one another, but how can a coach sacrifice himself for his team? Coaches have the opportunity to lay their life down by taking the blame for every loss, and giving his team the credit for every win. Coaches can sacrifice their ego for the sake of their team’s growth. Watch and listen for coaches who do this every time things go well or go poorly, and then look for how his team responds. His team will respond by following that coach with all of their hearts. They’ll walk through a wall for that coach because he has heaped sacrifice and humility all over them. There may be no greater blessing a coach can give the young men he is coaching.
John 15:13-15 says , “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” May our actions in life and on the fields of play this week represent our willingness to lay down our lives for our friends.