With God on My Side
By DANNY MINTON
Growing up, I played a lot of sandlot baseball. In the summer, every week, we’d get a group together and head to the field behind the old high school building. Sometimes we’d have a dozen or so, and other times we’d have only seven or eight.
In those days, we had so few players, we’d play scrub baseball with three batters, and the rest would play the field. It took a lot more running and better play to move around, so the bigger boys were at-bats a lot more than those of us who were smaller.
I was short and weighed about 60 pounds in those days. The first time I came to play with the big guys, they obviously expected little out of me. During this first game, it was my turn to bat. I remember it well. The fielders felt so threatened by me that the infield moved in right behind the pitcher, and the outfield moved onto the edge of the infield sand area. You can imagine how embarrassing it was to see this. Everyone was so close I could have thrown my bat and easily hit any of them.
I was always a first-pitch hitter, so when the pitcher threw the first pitch, I swung hard. More action took place in the next few seconds than the entire time we had been playing. You see, not only did I hit the ball over everyone’s head, it sailed out to where they would have been for any other batter. From there, it was a mad dash around the bases for me as the outfielders were racing as hard as they could to get the ball as it rolled toward the street behind left field.
I can clearly remember how a scrawny 60-pound little kid had embarrassed them all. The next time it was my turn to bat, no one moved in closer, with the outfielders holding their place, ready to catch a fly ball that came their way.
There are two lessons I want to make about this event in my life. They are lessons for people on both sides of the ball. Many of us will find ourselves on each side sometime during our lives, and how we react can make a huge difference in our lives and the lives of people on the other side.
People tend to judge others by what they see on the outside. How often have you found yourself deciding something about the person you see before you even get to know who they are and their talents or capabilities? We decide that tall and big guys are better in sports than smaller, shorter men. Unattractive people are naturally more dangerous than nice-looking people. Wealthy people are happier than those living on the edge. Celebrities are smarter with politics than the average person. People on welfare are lazy and don’t want to work. Intelligence depends on the color of your skin.
I could go on, but the point is that we make judgments all too often before we even know the person for who they are and what they can do. Get to know people before passing judgment on their worth in your world. We might be surprised by how often we are wrong with our snap assessments of others.
The other lesson is for those of us who find ourselves judged before we even have the opportunity to show our abilities. Size may not affect how well you excel in a sport. In 1986, “Spud” Webb won an NBA dunking contest against several players well over six feet. “Spud” was 5’6” tall. A young girl wrote her first short story at 18 years old. She tried publishing stories using the names Mac Miller, Nathaniel Miller, and Sydney West but rejection letters continued. She wrote a novel when she was 26 that a publisher rejected, but with a few changes, it was finally picked up by another publishing company. She would become the second most-published writer in history, behind William Shakesphere and third on the list of most books ever sold behind the Bible and Shakespeare. This young lady’s name was Agatha Christie. Estimates are that she has sold between two and four billion books worldwide.
You are important in God’s eyes. Never put yourself down because of your looks, size, skin color, or physical disabilities. Outward appearance has little to do with the abilities of the people we meet. I recently viewed a video of a young girl whose right arm had been amputated and replaced with a prosthetic one. She stood up to perform at a recital. She picked up the musical instrument with her left hand and positioned herself to play. What could she play with only one good arm? Amazingly she played a beautiful melody on the violin. Don’t believe me? By the way, she’s also a nurse. Take a look:
Don’t let the negative feelings of others keep you from being what God knows you can become. We are all special in His eyes, and He gives us the confidence to move forward, even if the world moves in against us. You never know what you can do with God on your side, but He does.
Paul wrote to the Philippians, “I can do everything through Him, who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13) Failure comes when we convince ourselves that we cannot succeed. If we believe in ourselves even when others don’t, we can do great things. Take notice that Paul did not say he could do anything but that he could do everything. There is nothing that I can’t accomplish with God on my side.
I was never a power hitter, but good enough with enough confidence that no one ever moved up on me again. Today, I know God is with me everywhere, and in everything I do. He is always on my side.
Danny Minton is an Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ
A life lesson well said Danny.
Some of those early negative experiences have long-term effects on children. I was the opposite of you–I was bigger than the other kids and people often thought I was an adult. It took me years to gain self-confidence and put those experiences behind me.