When I got back into baseball in 1974, first as manager of the Oakland Athletics, then as coach of the Chicago Cubs, and in 1977 until early 1978, as manager of the San Diego Padres, my faith was tested over and over. A big league manager who stood up for his beliefs and talked about the Bible was a curiosity. I was not particularly popular, but the Lord reminded my family and me of God's peace. He taught us to take all our insults to Him and leave them there. "Great peace have they which love They Law: and nothing shall offend them." (Psalm 119:165).
At the same time, being back in the game opened many opportunities to tell others about Christ.
During that period, baseball was the platform God gave me. I accepted many invitations to speak before church groups and tell others of God's love and faithfulness.
Sometimes a player would come to talk with me about some of the difficulties he was facing. I always took him to the only source of truth I know - the Word of God.
Today Jackie and I travel constantly, bragging about what Jesus Christ has done for us and telling others what He will do for any who seek His will.
"Don't you miss baseball?" I am often asked as I travel. "Baseball is my business," I replay. It has been for 30 years, and I believe I know it well. But it is not my life, Jesus Christ is the center of that.
If an opportunity came to manage again (where both the owner and general manager wanted me and had confidence in me), I would enjoy the opportunity to get back into the great game of baseball. But I would have to feel accepted, with my banner clear.
I would declare with the Apostle Paul, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Rom 1:16) (Or to the baseball player).
The Bible tells us in Romans 5:8, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." It tells us in John 1:12, "But as many as received Him (Christ), to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."
Since all ball players and fans deal in statistics, here are some to consider:
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:28
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
When ball players began to realize that Jesus Christ died for them personally so that they could be saved from the penalty of their sins, and have eternal life in Heaven, by the scores they have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. They could not turn away from such love. Jesus loves you like that!
Will you receive Him into your heart today?