Closing the Gap
by C.A. Phillips
What if you began to play baseball? Suppose you had the world’s best instructor, but he was only able to tell you ONE skill to focus on. Let’s say he decides the most important aspect of the game is making accurate throws. He works with you for hours each day, helping you gain an understanding of the proper mechanics – popping your feet, then shuffling towards the target, loading your arm with your two fingers on top of the baseball in a four-seam grip, the release of the ball, and the follow-through as your arm (if right-handed) whips from 1 o’clock to 7 o’clock to your left hop, while your feet continue towards your target.
You do this 100 times each day for one year – and you’ve now got 36,500 reps under your belt. You’ve seemingly mastered the art of throwing the baseball accurately from Point A to Point B on the diamond. Confident in your skill, you have signed up for the local baseball league. Yeah, there’s hitting and pitching and catching involved as well, but you’ll get to that later. You’re at the top of the mountain in terms of what you’ve learned about how to throw the baseball.
The coach sets his lineup and puts you on the infield. The first batter steps up to the plate, and hits a routine grounder to you. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. You field it cleanly, but you fail to move your feet, you don’t reach back for the four-seam grip, and you sidearm the throw to first base. Because you never shuffled and got low, your chest it high. And, because you didn’t get your fingers on top of the baseball, it sails up and away from the first baseman, pulling him off the bag. It’s the ONE thing you’ve spent the last year working on, and you didn’t execute.
Our lives actually mirror this scenario quite often, and we may not even be aware of it. I read an article years ago about the largest gap that exists in the Christian life. Many believe in order to live like Jesus would want them to, they need to know more about the Bible. They think the biggest gap is between what they know and what they don’t know. But, according to the author, that’s wrong. The largest gap is between what we know, and how we live.
I don’t have statistics on this, but I’d bet the vast majority of Christians in our world feel like they should know more about what the Bible teaches. But, I also know this: those same Christians know SOME of what the Bible teaches. Maybe just one thing.
You’ve likely heard or read the Golden Rule: Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is found in Matthew 7:12, where Jesus is delivering his famed Sermon on the Mount. You may have rarely opened your Bible. Maybe you have been out of church for a decade. You’ve not attended a small group Bible study in eons. Yet, you know this one part of Jesus’ teaching.
The question isn’t, “Why aren’t you learning more scripture?” or “Why aren’t you going to church this Sunday?” The better question is, “What are you doing with what you know?” If you know you’re supposed to treat other people like you want to be treated, how’s that going in your world? Do you speak to people with honor? Do you treat them kindly, and give them the benefit of the doubt?
There are 31,102 verses in the Bible. How are you doing with the ONE you know? It’s time to narrow the gap – not by knowing more, but by living in such a way that someone may notice something about you is different. The next time the ball is hit your way, don’t do what seems right. Do what IS right. You’ll not only make the play – you’ll make a mark!
C.A. Phillips is a lifelong sports enthusiast and youth baseball coach, and currently serves as the Communications Pastor and Director of Men’s Groups at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, Ga. He lives in Kennesaw with his wife, Amy, and his two sons, Chaz and Chandler.
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