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August 1, 2005

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I’d Rather Hit a Home Run Than Give a Speech
By: Dr. Skip Myers
Edgefielddaily.com columnist
web posted August 1, 2005

The New York Yankees were playing the Milwaukee Braves and the Braves power hitter, Hank Aaron, came to the plate. Catching for the Yankees that day was the well-known character of baseball, Yogi Berra. Yogi was famous for engaging a batter in an endless array of chatter in an attempt to throw off their timing. As Aaron came to the plate, Yogi unleashed a tireless onslaught of comments designed to distract Hank’s concentration. And as you would agree, it would be a good thing to do whatever it took to distract Hank Aaron who swung one of the most dangerous bats in all of baseball.

Yogi watched Hank step into the batter’s box and happened to notice the way he was holding the bat. Attempting to distract the Braves’ slugger, Yogi said, “Henry, you’re holding the bat all wrong. You’re supposed to hold it so you read the trademark.” Aaron didn’t say a word. When the next pitch was delivered he sent it out into the left field stands. Having made his trip around the bases and reaching home plate, Aaron simply grinned and told Yogi, “I didn’t come here to read.”

The genuine proof of our faith is not given by words but rather in our actions. We may choose to talk about what it takes to hit a home run (spiritually speaking) but if we never come to the plate and take a swing, all we are doing is talking a good faith. Think about the following formula for spiritual ineffectiveness: Distracting Chatter + A Mouth-Based Faith = Spiritual Impotence.

Let’s look at the components of this formula. Distracting chatter is all around us. Your world is filled with a bothersome catcher behind the plate in every game you play. It’s their sole responsibility to take your mind off the game and the next pitch thrown to you. If you concentrate on them and worry about what they are saying, your mind becomes divided and your swing affected. They chatter at you at work and you fail to share the hope of the Lord with someone hurting. They chatter at you at home and you lose your temper with spouse or child. They chatter at you during worship and you concentrate on the length of the sermon instead of the content.

Now add to the formula a mouth-based faith. In other words, you talk more than you do spiritually. You see chatter distracts us more from acting than it does from talking. You can stand at the plate and declare you are going to hit a home run but if you are distracted, the chances of you doing nothing more than talking about it are greatly enhanced.  Remember that dramatic scene where Babe Ruth pointed to the right field fence calling his shot. Sure enough, the next pitch sailed into the right field stands. It’s okay to talk if you can perform the action to back it up. Staying in a focused zone is essential to spiritual effectiveness. Keep your eyes on the Lord.

People readily identify those who merely talk and those who talk about what they are able to do. If you allow yourself to be distracted by the chatter of your world and your faith becomes more talk than walk, you have become a spiritually lazy, powerless person. How do I know? Been there and done that. And it was and is always the most miserable times of my life. I get tired of striking out and being in a slump. Laziness and faith cannot coexist because faith is based in an active, dynamic relationship with a living Lord. Spiritual impotence and the power of this living Lord cannot coexist. One will always give way to the other and will determine the overall condition of you faith.

James 2:18: But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” Notice we are made right before God by faith but genuine faith always translates into action. We must not talk a good faith, we must learn to live one. Standing at the plate and talking about hitting will never be as effective as actually taking swings. No, you won’t hit a home run every time but if you keep swinging and concentrating on the Lord, you will and will do so with an ever increasing frequency.

You didn’t come to faith to read about it or simply talk about it. The best way to shout faith is to live it. The best way to silence the chattering catchers behind your plate is to hit it out of the park. Jesus is your hitting coach and the church is your batting cage. Practice hitting in a safe environment with slower pitching and hopefully less chatter. Then take the lessons out into the world and hit a home run for the Lord. You can do it. I’ll see you at practice Sunday in His stadium.

Dr. Myers is Pastor of Smiths Station Baptist Church, Smiths Station Alabama and a former Youth Minister of Sweetwater Baptist Church (1981-1986)
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