Swinging For The Fences

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A hard lesson that I learned many years ago was in regards to trying too hard.  This came about when I preached one of my first messages.  It was a horrible experience.  The message had 5 main points, 3 sub-points per point, and 5 examples per point.  I honestly don’t understand why people remained in their seats.  I was all over the place and quite sure that more people left with questions than answers that day.  After debriefing the experience with my Senior Pastor he gave me an analogy that helped me realize what I had done.

I was swinging for the fences.  I had the chance to deliver a great message to an eager audience and in my haste to cover all the bases, I struck out.  I was striving for a home run rather than playing it safe with a base hit.  Rather than realize that one single message would not become a life-changing experience for each listener I pulled out all the stops and ended up sitting on the bench.  I had it within me to serve up a great message that would have impacted someone’s life that morning and could have potentially helped others along on their journey to connect with a loving God.  Instead, I thought that I would be saving the world with my words.

Far too often we become far too full of ourselves and we forget that the life change that can happen when we speak comes not from us, but through the work of the Holy Spirit in us.  This was a valuable lesson for me to learn.  My prayer is that many others will learn through my experience rather than have to live through the same.  Babe Ruth may have set the record for the most home runs but he also led the league in the most strike outs.  (career home runs 714 – career strike outs 1330)  The message that we proclaim week after week is far too important to strike out on.  When proclaiming the Gospel we need to be clear, precise, and focused.  I now understand the idea of settling for a base hit when it comes to communicating truth to people.  

The same goes for anything that you do.  Yes, do all that you do with excellence, but understand that all that is needed to make the world go around is not dependent solely on you.  Trying too hard can be, not only your own undoing, but many others as well.  I would much rather prefer to have someone move from base to base as they journey towards home than to swing for the fences and strike out week after week.  An RBI still ends with a score.  

Too many strikes and they don’t let you swing any more…

Can you settle for base hits when you understand that they bring forward progress?

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