It must be Spring. Because Major League Baseball has arrived!
Last night the season began with one of baseball’s oldest rivalries– the St. Louis Cardinals vs Chicago Cubs at the historic and recently renovated Wrigley Field. The Cardinals won 3-0.
Today there will be 14 more openers. Including our American League Champion, Kansas City Royals!
One of my favorite baseball stories involves famed St. Louis Cardinal pitcher, Dizzy Dean, a member of the so-called “gas-house gang.” In 1934 Dizzy had a 30-7 record. He led the league in strike-outs. Led the league in shutouts. And won two games in the World Series, including the deciding seventh game to beat the Detroit Tigers. He was named MVP in 1934.
The following Spring in 1935 when the Rookies reported early for training camp, a reporter for the St. Louis Dispatch went to see their young talent. And who did he see? Dizzy Dean!
The reporter was surprised that Dean reported early when he didn’t have to. “Why?” asked the reporter. “After the kind of year you had. Why are you here with the Rookies, Diz?”
Dean replied, “Pardner, when you quit gettin’ better, you quit being good.”
Our word of the week is “better.”
“Gettin’ better” is not just important in baseball. It’s true in life. It’s true in business. It’s true in your relationships. It’s true in your Christian walk.
The author of Hebrews speaks of a second generation of Jewish Christians who were in danger of slipping. They had become neglectful. They were still on the spiritual milk of the word, when they should have been eating spiritual meat. They should be the ones teaching, but instead needed to be taught. But he encourages them by exhorting, “But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you…” (Heb 6:7).
God wants us to be better. We are commanded to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18). We are expected to grow and mature (Eph. 4:13-16). And we are to become more Christ-like as we follow in His steps (2 Pet 2:21-25). In a word, we are to get better.
But how can we be better? Too often we compare our strengths with others’ weakness and deceive ourselves into thinking we’re better than most people so we’re just fine! So, getting better begins with getting real! We must “examine ourselves” (2 Cor 13:5).
I need to ask, how can I be a better Christian?
Do I need to grow in my knowledge and understanding of scripture?
Do I need better judgment in applying what I already know?
Do I need to make some attitude adjustments to be more like Christ?
Do I need to develop deeper convictions?
Do I need to make greater commitments to developing my skills, gifts and abilities in service to the Lord?
Do I need to become more servant minded?
Do I need to break bad habits that are inhibiting my spiritual growth?
Do I need to be involved in Christian fellowship?
Do I need to improve my relationships with others? My brethren? My family? My friends?
Maybe I have reached a spiritual plateau and have become complacent and self-satisfied? Do I need to get out of my comfort zone and step out on faith to do more? To give more? To be more? Am I selling myself short, and just coasting along spiritually?
Do I need to be more forgiving? Less judgmental? Kinder? More loving?
These are all personal questions that only you can answer. But just remember this, “pardner…when you quit gettin’ better, you quit being good!”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman