A friend and I were talking about the value of encouragement, and he said, “Hey, let me tell you a story.”
Jared learned to play T-Ball at 5. After working with his dad at home, he played his first game. Taking a mighty swing the ball went about 4 feet. “Run to first base”, yelled the crowd. And after a few bewildering moments, he safely ran down to first.
The next batter up hit the ball. This time the ball ran through the infield, and the crowd began screaming, “Jared, go home, go home!” Standing stock still, tears began to stream down his face thinking the crowd didn’t like him and wanted him to go home. The father of the teammate who had just hit the ball, came down out of the stands, and crouched next to Jared. He whispered something in his ear, and then Johnny Bench and Jared, ran the bases to home. I wasn’t there, but I’m told it’s true.
What a story for Jared to treasure, I ran the bases with Johnny Bench.
For a church planter, many times the crowd seems to be yelling—Go Home! In many cases, we are not sure whether or not they are telling us to pull up stakes and slink away, or triumphantly score. I know in my church plant, those were the lonely times, when you didn’t know whether to quit or to celebrate—or both. I didn’t have a coach per se, but every Sunday night my Dad would pick up the phone and call me to say, “I love you and I’m proud of you.” There were many weeks when I lived for those phone calls. That’s been 25 years since I first started getting those phone calls. Last Sunday night, April 3, my Dad called about 8:30 pm, just to tell me he was proud of my decision to go into the ministry.
It may not be your Dad, but you need to hold on to those people who will call you and whisper in your ear, “Let’s run the bases together” – You can do it. And above all, the Comforter, who runs alongside and inside you daily, is saying. Come on. You can finish.