Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Don't rush growth - baseball illustration

When I talk about 'spiritual growth' or 'spiritual maturity,' I'm simply talking about growing in grace - growing in the knowing and expressing of who we already are in Christ. I've talked a lot in the past about "slow growth" and "natural growth," etc. I've talked about enjoying where we are in our individual journeys, and not trying to rush the growth process. Last night I listened to an incredible illustration of this while I was watching baseball.

St. Louis Cardinals rookie outfielder Colby Rasmus hit a home run - his fourth of the young season. That's great for the Cardinals, of course, but I was then floored as I listened to the commentators talk about how the team's management and trainers have been working with Rasmus to "not get too home run conscious." I was in awe of the team's logic, as they are taking time to work with young Rasmus to develop him as a Major League player.

See, Rasmus is only 22 years old. He signed into baseball right out of high school (far from a common thing). He spent his first few years in the Minor Leauges, and this is his first season (rookie season) in the Major Leagues. The commentators said that the team is still working to establish Rasmus as a Major League player. He IS a Major League player, but they are working to establish and develop his particular role as a player. And it's gonna take time. He's gonna make mistakes and he's gonna learn.

At the present time, the team is working to establish him not as a home run hitter, but as a line drive hitter. Essentially, a line drive hit can get you on base and can also advance or score runners who are already on base. The team believes that eventually Rasmus will be a home run hitter, perhaps hitting 20 to 25 home runs per season. But here's the interesting phrase that the commentators used. The team wants to "mature him into a home run hitter" (as opposed to putting a lot of emphasis now on hitting home runs). I'm sure there are many reasons for this, not the least of which would be that if he gets too "home run conscious," his overall hitting may not develop properly. If he takes time to develop his skills as a line drive hitter, his overall hitting - including home runs - will become more natural.

As our heavenly Father is rooting us and establishing us in His love and grace, and as He's developing us and forming the life of Christ in us over a period of a lifetime, it's OK to be right where we're at. In fact, it's not only OK - it's essential for our overall development that we remain right where we are and not try to force growth. Let God develop your "line drive." The "home runs" will come naturally in time. Ahhh.... relax!


  1. Your last paragraph so lines up with the picture the girl in london had of me (in my pba story)!!

    I also just posted a dream I had this morning that had both you and Matthew Daelon in it. You might get a kick out of it. . . Propitiation: Dreams

  2. I can't WAIT to hit a Major League home run! That's what you meant, right??? ;)

    No, seriously, that was a great illustration of the "process". Way to go, slugger!

  3. Becky, yeah, I really loved those words in your PBA story, with Lord speaking to you, "Stop worrying about the fruit. It will come. Just relax."

    Some of my favorite words and phrased include these: Rest, relax, lighten up! =D

    John, that's really what I used to be like. Thankfully it's all in my past (well, mostly) but I used to feel that I needed to be a home run hitter for God! But just as these commentators described the training process of this player, the Lord began to speak to me through other people about sitting back and enjoying the journey, and not trying to force anything.

    It just came to my mind... and I would've made this part of the post if I'd remembered it before... but when I played church softball I really thought I was a bad player because I couldn't ever hit the ball very far. At least a couple of guys on the team were great at hitting home runs (see my Facebook Oldies pics... my brother in law and the guy laying down holding the trophy). On top of that, I hardly ever scored a run.

    But eventually... long after my playing days were done... I looked back and I realized that I actually did hit a lot of line drives that went past the infielders and got me on base, and I got quite a few RBI's as well. At the time I had no clue what I was doing... LOL... and I didn't realize the value of an RBI.

    Another application here, then, would be that it's all about the individual members of the team, not just about everyone hitting home runs.

  4. Joel!

    I demand equal time for hockey! LOL

    I love the variety of ways you delineate the differences between salvation and sanctification...but baseball! Torture! Cruel and unusual punishment...Come on now please we are on the web here be more global at least use soccer (football)! LOL

  5. LS,

    I LOOOVE Baseball!!!!!

    But hmmm... ok... hockey and soccer... let's see...

    How about "Don't feel as if you have to get a hat-trick in every game." hehehe. That's perhaps one of the only hockey and soccer terms that I'm familiar with. :)

  6. Joel...I’m praying for you brother...

    Loving baseball...another reason to be thankful for God’s grace...but don’t forget the repentance part...

  7. Haha! But it gets even better. I don't just 'love' baseball. The 'love of baseball' oozes out of me abundantly. LOL ;)

    I don't think your prayers for me will work.