Just Knowing Isn’t Enough
by C.A. Phillips
James 1:22 (ESV)
The runner led off from third base. It was a pivotal moment in the game, and the third base coach knew he needed to get his runner across the plate. The pitch came in, a ball in the dirt that squirted past the catcher. The runner took off from third, as the catcher feverishly scurried to the backstop. The pitcher came in to receive the throw, and the coaches started yelling to the runner, “Get down! Get down!”
However, the runner didn’t heed his coaches’ pleas to slide. Fortunately for him, the catcher never was able to pick up the ball cleanly and make the throw to home plate. The runner scored standing, but the coach was still not pleased.
As the runner crossed the plate and made his way back to the dugout, his coach was in his ear.
“I told you to slide! You’ve got to get down when there’s a play at the plate!
The kid replied, “I know! I know!”
The coach recounted, “Don’t just know it! Do it!”
As a coach, I tirelessly pounded into my players the importance of execution in the moment. We would spend hours and hours, weeks and weeks, on one aspect of the game. You put in that work so that when the situation presents itself in a game, your team is prepared, and can make the play! Too often, much to the coach’s chagrin (and hair color), players freeze or revert back to their old ways.
I can recall a tournament game I once coached where this reared its ugly head. We were in the waning minutes of the championship game of an 11U tournament. We were on defense: bases were loaded, one out. I called “time,” and huddled up with my infield on the mound. I explained we would play with our infield in, and if we fielded it cleanly, we would be coming home with the throw to get the force out at home.
Two pitches later, the ball was hit directly to our first baseman, who was playing in about ten feet in front of the bag.
“Yes!” I’m thinking. “Just what we wanted and planned for!”
But, instead of coming home with it to prevent the run from scoring, the first baseman turned and trotted to tag first base!
I may have been just a tad upset at that moment…especially considering the first baseman was my son!
As a coach or parent, you can’t control what your kids do with the information and teaching you give them. But, always be sure to emphasize the importance of applying what you are teaching, and encourage them to not be afraid to make a mistake.
The same is true of those who claim to follow Christ. Are you doing the things of Christ, or do you just know about them? That’s where the rubber meets the road with our personal faith and witness to others.
Are people seeing what you profess to believe?
Thankfully, for those who have put their faith in Christ, God’s grace bridges the gap between what we believe and what we do. But, it doesn’t take others’ eyes off the example we set.
Because, sometimes, just knowing isn’t quite good enough.
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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