Join the Team • Devotion 1

Put Me In, Coach
Mark Pittenger

As I remember coaching youth travel baseball, I often think about tryouts. Tryouts can be a nerve-wracking time for both players and coaches. One thing we would do, as coaches during tryouts, is evaluating the player’s strengths. Can they throw hard? Do they run fast? Are they a power hitter or more of a singles and doubles kind of hitter? Answering these questions helps coaches to determine how that player’s skills could be utilized to better the team, like, what position would they be best at on the field or where in the batting order they would hit. Faster runners usually bat first and second in the batting order. Power hitters bat third, fourth, and fifth and the singles and doubles hitters finish out the lineup.

When it comes to playing the field, there are nine positions to be filled. Outfielders are fast runners, have quick reaction times, and can throw the ball a long distance. Infielders do not have to throw the ball as far but need to have a better reaction time and good communication skills, as they are the voice between the catcher and the outfielders. Pitchers are unique in that they know how to grip and release the ball when throwing and how much power to put into the pitch to determine how the ball travels. Some may think the pitcher is the captain of the field but it is actually the catcher! The catcher is the only player that can clearly see every base and is the one who decides what pitches the pitcher should throw. It takes a strong knowledge of the game and both mental and physical toughness to be a catcher.

I tell you all of this because it is the same within the church. Each of us has a unique skill set, given to us by God, to be used for His glory! Much like the players on a baseball team, each member brings their unique skill set to the table, and when combined with the other members, makes for a successful formula to reach the final goal.

In 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, the Apostle Paul tells us, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - Jews or Greeks, slaves or free - and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”

Once you give your life to Jesus, you become part of the team. There are no tryouts and no chance of being cut (John 10:28).

Paul goes on to tell us in verses 14-15, “For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body.”

Maybe you can sing, play an instrument, or you are a good speaker. Maybe you are gifted in working with kids or teens. Maybe you are better at communicating with adults. Maybe your gift is using tools or building things. It could be that you are more of a thinker and solving problems is your thing. The bottom line is that no matter what your strengths are, they can, and should, be used to glorify God and to further build His kingdom here on Earth (Matthew 28:19-20).

I urge you to examine yourself and find your strengths. Talk to God through prayer about how you can use these strengths to spread the Gospel. Get connected with the church and see where there are opportunities to use your gift. Whatever it is that you bring to the table, it is needed. You are a player on team Jesus! You just need to say, “Put me in, Coach” (Isaiah 6:8).

“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” Matthew 9:37-38
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