Little League – Big Vision

I was twelve years old, pitching in a Little League game that wasn’t going well.  I felt that the umpire was calling a bad game.  I thought I was throwing strikes. He would call them a ball.

I was a kid who was easily frustrated and angered, kind of a hothead.  I’m sure that my attitude was sometimes embarrassing to the adults in the bleachers, as well as my coach, who understandably, probably didn’t like me much.

I started voicing my complaints about the umpire’s calls.  I became more and more angry, and my pitching became worse. Finally, my coach pulled me from the game. I ranted in the dugout about the horrible umpire, and I made sure he could hear me. I thought that maybe if I embarrassed him, he would stop cheating. 

During our next at-bat, the coach sent me to go and coach third base. I grabbed a helmet, and trudged across the field to take my place in foul territory by third base.  As the other team went through their warmups, I saw the umpire take off his mask and walk down the line towards me. I could see his face. The imaginary protection between us was gone. We were now an adult and a child.  I knew I was about to get what I deserved from this man.

He stood very close to me and quietly said, “Ricky, please don’t be upset with me. I know I’m not very good at this, but I really am trying my best. I’m not against you. I think you’re the best player out here. I hope my job tonight doesn’t discourage you. I want to see you play in the all-star game, and I’ll be cheering for you.”

I broke. My face became soaked with tears. This man touched my heart with love and compassion. He could have chewed me out, and the onlookers probably would have cheered. He could have had me removed. He could have informed me of disciplinary action being filed against me. He had all the power. I had none.

But instead, he was humble. He was giving. I had tried to make a mockery of him, and he let me know that he liked me and was for me.  This act of love upon someone so undeserving has always amazed me, and the effect that it had on me amazes me even more. My attitude, at least for that night, instantly changed. I was now a fan of this man who believed in me. He expertly diffused my anger. He made a friend out of an enemy.

I have a vision. What if billions of humans caught on to this? It can happen, because Jesus planted that same kind of Love in our hearts. It’s a righteous, earth-healing seed that can be nurtured and watered with attention. The very thought of this excites me. I know this seed is growing in me, how about you? Who’s with me?

Have a great day, Friend, we believe in you!

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