Who Are You Playing For?

If you knew me growing up, I was an avid Cincinnati Reds fan. You see, Johnny Bench, their outstanding catcher and hitter, grew up just a few miles from my home town. It didn’t hurt that they would seem to be playing baseball every Saturday in the Game of Week on NBC. These were in the dark ages before cable came to town.

Once cable was ushered in during my college years and the Reds were no longer the Big Red Machine, the poor hapless Braves became my team. Their star slugger, Dale Murphy, was born this week back in 1956 in Portland, Oregon. During his time with the team he won the National League Most Valuable Player twice. I wonder how many more awards he would have received if the Atlanta team was any better while he was with them.

But I do admire Dale for sticking it out with the team. I bet there were a lot of times in right field he was wondering what else could go wrong with this error-prone bunch of players. But he persevered. He saw the group as just as important as a star player, even when at times he could have gone to another team and gotten more recognition.

This story reminds me that many times in the New Testament the Apostle Paul wrote to the young Christian churches to not give up in their time of persecution and uncertainty. They may not get the immediate reward that is due them. They needed to stay in the game. The recognition will follow maybe in the next life to come. So when your team is not “playing up to par” today, keep going. You are playing for someone a whole lot more important than the ones around you!

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