A Great Lesson From an Unknown Baseball Player

ClintCourtneyHey baseball fans, ready for a trivia question? Who was Clint Courtney?

Don’t bother checking Cooperstown.  He never made it to the Baseball Hall of Fame.   He never became a baseball legend. He wasn’t a great player.  He didn’t break any records–only bones.  He wasn’t a power hitter.  He only hit 38 home runs in his entire career.  He had little speed on the base paths.  And to quote one sports writer, “ As for grace and style, he made the easiest play look rather difficult!”

Clint Courtney was a catcher in the 1950’s. He played for six different teams, including one game for the New York Yankees in 1951 and three separate stints with the Baltimore Orioles.  For five years he played for the old Washington Senators.

Clint Courtney was a natural left-hander, who taught himself to throw right-handed.  He also was myopic, and considered the first Major League catcher to wear glasses.  While only 5′ 8″, Courtney was a tough, hard-nosed, pugnacious player, who earned the nickname “Old Scrap Iron.”

One writer put it this way, “Scrap Iron never flinched from any challenge.  Batters often missed the ball and caught his shin. Their foul tips nipped his elbow. Runners fiercely plowed into him, spikes first, as he defended home plate. Though often doubled over in agony, and flattened in a heap of dust, Clint Courtney never quit. Invariably, he’d slowly get up, shake off the dust, punch the pocket of his mitt once, twice, and nod to his pitcher to throw another one.”

Yesterday, we introduced the word of the week as “endurance.”  The story of Clint Courtney reminds us that we need to be like “Old Scrap Iron” in our spiritual lives.  He fought hard.  And never quit!

The Bible writers recognized the possibility that we might allow the spiritual bumps, bruises and battles to discourage us.  To weary us.  To defeat us.  And so we have these great admonitions.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”  (Gal 6:9, ESV).

“And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right” (2 Thess. 3:13, NIV)

“And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,  so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises”  (Heb 6:11-12, NASU)

Satan will try to undermine our faithfulness.  He will tempt us with the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life.  He will discourage us with pain.  Problems.   And persecution.  He will try to exhaust us mentally, emotional, physically and spiritually.  He was distract us with cares of this world.  Materialism.  And mindless matters that are really meaningless.  If he can’t defeat us, he will use the defeat of others to dissuade us from remaining loyal to the Lord.

The Devil will lie.  Cheat.  And deceive.  He won’t play fair.  Or by the rules.  He will tell you that you’re nobody.  Nothing. You don’t have what it takes.  And, no one will ever remember who you are.

But when he knocks you down. Get up. Dust yourself off.  And get back “in the game.”  Because he going to lose!  And your name is in God’s Hall of Fame.

And when it really seems tough. And you feel like quitting.  Remember “Old Scrap Iron.”  And the words of the fearless apostle Paul:

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1Cor 15:58, NKJV)

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

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