If you’re reading this, I’d refer to you as a baseball missionary. You see your time on the baseball diamond as time in the harvest field. You recognize the lessons of God and Christ that are available to be taught in and through the game. You’re looking at things with spiritual eyes and not physical ones.
The audience of Bottom of the Ninth are baseball players, coaches, and parents across the country and world with similar eyes. But we know that few share this view with us. For most, baseball is just a source of recreation, a game to be played for fun. I’ve been floored by the number of Christian people who separate what happens in their spiritual lives with what occurs on the baseball field. Baseball (and other sports) is the microscope for where you are in your spiritual walk and maturity. It provides all of us with a stick by which we can measure our progress.
I watched Silence this weekend with my wife. Silence is the story of priests who endure incredible trials to share the Gospel in the nation of Japan in the 1600s. So much of the film was about the subversive, underground attempts to encourage the believers in the secret churches, and the violent attempts by the Buddhists to thwart the spread of Christianity in Japan. It’s a fascinating film and one worth watching and processing.
The thing that stuck with me is this - through Complete Game we are called to spread “The Gospel of Jesus in the Language of Baseball.” In Silence, they were called to spread the Gospel of Jesus through the language and culture of the Japanese. It’s a long, hard road and it requires deep, intimate understanding of the culture. You’re not going to colonize a group of people who process and think about things one way to an entirely different way of thinking overnight, through a single message, or a single blog post.
Our call as baseball missionaries is to learn, to observe, to walk this road, and to live out both of these Scriptures:
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” - Matthew 10:16
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only…” - James 1:22
Get into the culture of baseball and learn it. Make the movement of Complete Game like the secret church. Help people to see that this game is meant to find and build disciples. For if the purpose is only the game, there is no purpose at all. This beautiful game was created so that we can show people the goodness of God and the glory of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.
“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” - John 1:3
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” - Colossians 1:16