More Spiritual Lessons from The Sandlot


Through the end of 2017, Bottom of the Ninth will run a series that will explore some of the spiritual lessons we can learn from our favorite baseball movies. What better way to spend the offseason than to rewatch some of our favorite baseball films while letting the Lord replenish our spirit and love for the game! This week will focus on our second lesson from The Sandlot.

Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” (NLT)

Proverbs 13:12, “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around.” (The Message)

Disclaimer - I think there are more questions here than there are any answers. Hope you enjoy the ideas.

What causes us to run out on the field like an eight-year-old? I’m sure there are a number of factors, but one of them has to be Hope. Hope for fun, the opportunity for joy, and a great day of play.

The main character in The Sandlot, Smalls, can’t throw and he can’t catch. Dude is bad. As he goes to the sandlot for the second time, he’s a day removed from playing catch with his stepdad and wearing the ball (and then a slab of meat) on his face. He’s got no hope and his peers know it.

While Benny also recognizes his lack of ability, he choose a path of hope. Benny is the best player in the sandlot and transfers his hope onto Smalls. After telling Smalls to stick his glove out there and he’d take care of the rest, Benny hits Smalls a flyball that miraculously falls in his glove. The moment gives Smalls hope and he also gains the acceptance of his peers in that moment.

This scene led me to reflect on moments of hope in my own life. In fact, I’m having a hard time separating the word “hope” from the word “faith.” For example, the preview to next week’s episode of This Is Us details the Kate character experiencing a miscarriage. The moment struck a chord for me and my wife that led me to wonder, did we have hope or did we have faith that we would experience the happiness of a family some day? We have two beautiful kids now and they, in many ways, are a symbol of our hope in God’s faithfulness after a period of great heartache and difficulty.

But is there any difference between hope and faith in this instance? What about for Smalls? He chucks that glove in the area as a symbol of both hope and faith. While I don’t fully understand the difference of these two words, I know this - the Cross is the greatest symbol of hope we have.

Paul talks about the idea of Hope in Romans 5:5-7 when he says,” And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.”

Smalls was utterly helpless and Benny came at the right time. I hope to continue to go through life as Smalls did on the sandlot - throwing my glove up in the air in hope (or faith…or both) and experiencing how Jesus comes through at the right time.