CLERGY CORNER: What’s your biggest fear

Posted on 13 April 2017 by LeslieM

I love the locker room scene in Moneyball when Scott Hatteberg, played by Chris Pratt, is asked by a teammate about his biggest fear after having transitioned from playing catcher to first base. Hatteberg nervously smiles and shares, “The baseball being hit in my general direction,” (insert chuckle).

His teammate, bewildered, takes a moment to eat a spoonful of cereal before asking again, “Seriously. What is it?”

No. Seriously. That is,” confirms Hatteberg.

Whether or not my career playing catcher in Little League qualifies me to have an opinion, I have to admit, Scott’s response resonates with me. Undoubtedly, it would be a tough transition for any catcher.

I see a similar parallel when it comes to Christianity. Whether you grew up in church or came to know Christ later in life, both lifestyles can tempt one to remain in their comfort zone. Neither camp is immune to the perplexities and difficulties of life. But we’re “catchers,” which is to say we’re human and resilient by nature, we’re okay with dropping down in the dirt from time to time to corral a wild pitch or two. We feel at home, secure in our padded gear, and even should a ball slip past, there’s always the backstop.

But something changes when we genuinely surrender to God’s will. It’s like He’s asked us to leave behind what we know, maybe tradition or ignorance, and take up a new position on His field. It’s a paradigm shift. It’s the same field yet a completely different — and scary —experience.

He’s asked us to play first base — kinda.

Look what happens when Jonah is asked to change positions: “The Lord gave this message to Jonah: ‘Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.’ But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord” — Jonah 1:1-3 NLT.

Did you catch that? Jonah “got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord.”

Jonah grabbed his catcher’s mitt and headed not for first, but for the locker room!

For many of us, that’s exactly how we respond when God commands that we “[Go] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” — Matthew 28:19.

If we’re honest, that’s the proverbial ball being hit, not in our general, but specific direction.

For some, there is a fear of being labeled intolerant, or bigoted. Maybe there is worry of losing a promotion or status. For others, it could be an anxiety of not being good enough. How could God possibly use me? Does He know what I’ve done (?)! And there are those that panic at the idea of a lifestyle or career change.

Whatever it is, whatever God is asking of you specifically, playing first base requires us to focus and lean in to this incredible calling of making disciples.

And if that scares you, that’s okay. It can be a seemingly overwhelming position to play, but here’s what you do: Start small. Speaker and Author Bob Goff, referencing Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed, communicates how beautiful it is that from something so small blossoms a place of refuge for the birds (Matthew 13:31-32).

Sometimes a simple remark such as “nice belt!” becomes the seed that blossoms into a relationship where both parties find refuge and begin to understand who they are in Christ and how to lead others to become fully devoted follower of Christ themselves.

The reality is that we weren’t all created to play first base. There are many positions, but what’s important to remember is don’t get caught up trying to play someone else’s position. Focus where God has you and lean in. Get your glove ready because a line-drive has just been hit in your direction. Have no fear but fear in the Lord. Go, and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. No, seriously, that’s it.

C.J. Wetzler is the NextGen pastor at First Baptist Church of Deerfield Beach. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. For questions or comments he can be reached at cj@deerfieldfirst.com.

Comments are closed.

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

front page

COVER