Good morning, I'm the Rev'd Julie Golding Page for St. Patrick's Anglican Church. This month, our daily devotionals are from the world of sports. Today, we'll be talking about baseball and how some of its plays and players can help us understand our faith better.
Do you have a baseball player who's just plain fun to watch? It might not be somebody with the best record for hitting, or fielding. Just somebody who plays in such an entertaining way, that whenever he comes on, you drop everything and watch the action. For me, that player is the Toronto Blue Jays' Rajai Davis. His claim to fame is speed.
Whenever Davis manages to get on base, the real entertainment begins. It seems like a lot of the opposing teams don't know that Rajai Davis is super-fast, and so they sometimes don't pay much attention to him on base. That is a big mistake. Because he's so fast, that he's likely to have already stolen a base before anybody on the fielding team even sees him start running!
Davis's speed also means he can get many more bases out of a hit than most other players. For example, he can make it to first base easily on a bunt that would result in an out for most other players. And whenever Rajai Davis hits, the other team had better look out! Because Davis will end up on second or third base in the same time that other guys would take to make it just to first. It's as if he turns on the afterburners – you almost expect to see smoke coming off his heels, he runs so fast!
It's not just speed, though, that makes Davis a great base runner. It's also his ability to watch the action. He's always checking with his own team, like the first- and third-base coaches. Or he's taking note of what the other team is up to. Is the pitcher paying attention, or can Rajai Davis go behind his back and steal a base? How about the other fielders? Are they in position, or are they chasing a far-off ball that will allow Davis to make it safely to the next base? So he takes his superior skill in running, and he adds to it paying close attention to what's going on, so he'll be aware and not get picked off from keeping his head down when he should be looking around.
Rajai Davis' ability to keep his eye on the ball and the actions of his opponents reminds me of a verse in the Bible. Here's what 1st Peter chptr 5, verse 8 says: “Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up.” The Message
We don't really like to think about the Devil being aware of our existence, much less that he's out there trying to get us. That sounds scary. But this verse reminds us that, just like Rajai Davis, we need to be aware of our opponent. If Davis didn't pay attention to the opposing team, he wouldn't be able to get to any base, let alone use his great speed to help him get ahead and steal a base. And the same will happen to us, if we refuse to admit the Devil's existence. It won't matter what we try to do, because there he will be, with a clear shot at us, because we aren't even watching for him. He's right there, in that little voice that tells you to do something you know isn't right. Or in that urge to neglect those things you know you need to do but don't really want to. He's there, all right.
But like Davis, if we do what this verse says – keep a cool head, stay alert, and keep our guard up – we'll be ready for the Devil's advances on us. And we'll be able to avoid him, just like Davis avoids his opponents who are trying to pick him off. Notice the verse doesn't mention anything at all about being afraid of the Devil. It just tells us to be aware of him. Elsewhere in the Bible, we find out why. James 4:7 tells us, “Yell a loud NO to the Devil and watch him scamper.” The Message Or as another translation puts it, “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” NIV That's it, so simple. To get rid of the Devil, we need not fear. All we need to do is be aware he's out there, and when we meet him, tell him to get lost. And he will! So today, let's remember the Devil's out there, looking for us. But let's be like Rajai Davis and do him one better. Let's watch for him, and tell him to get lost if we see him, so we can get on with our real business – living for God. For St. Patrick's, I'm Julie Golding Page.