by C.A. Phillips
Sometimes I just get tickled when I am umpiring baseball games. Just recently, I was in the field for a 13-14 year old game, when a vulnerability was exposed on the defensive team. No, it wasn’t inaccurate throws. It wasn’t lackadaisical fielding. It wasn’t even poor positioning. Let me take you back to how it unfolded.
The batter nubbed one off the end of his bat, and the ball traveled about 50 feet, wandering into what us baseball folks call “no man’s land,” between the pitcher’s mound, first base, and second base. When the play ended, the batter was safe on first base, and the ball still rested on the infield grass.
The first baseman, who was standing on first base, said to the pitcher, “Why didn’t you field the ball?”
The second baseman says to the first baseman, “I thought you were gonna come get it.”
The pitcher exclaims, “I was going to go cover first base, but neither of you came to get it.”
I stood among the three of them chuckling, and wanting desperately to say to them collectively, “Nobody knows what you’re thinking!! You’ve got to SPEAK UP!”
And, all too often, that’s our problem in life. We think things, but we don’t share them. Don’t get me wrong…there ARE times when we shouldn’t speak what’s on our minds! However, when it comes to building great teams and great families, we need to learn how to effectively communicate. And, taking that a step further, we can always be an encourager to someone else – not by just thinking about the positive things people do, but by actually letting them know!
Consider Paul and Barnabas, who traveled together to share the good news of the gospel:
After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. Acts 14:21-22 (NLT)
Who can you speak up for today? Who can you encourage and strengthen?
I was once asked, “How do you know if someone needs encouragement?”
Answer: They’re breathing.
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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