I’ve never watched a lot of baseball in the past, football is my sport, but lately, my girls have gotten into watching the Giants. I’ve enjoyed hanging out with my girls as we watch the games. We’ve even gone to AT&T Park to catch a game or two in person. When it comes to football, I’d rather watch the game from the comfort of my couch, but baseball is more fun at the stadium.
I think the reason I enjoy going to the stadium is because I can hear and observe so many things other than the game, especially when the game tends to slow down, which for me is between every pitch. I watch the vendors as they bark out their call for, “Peanuts, peanuts here!” I watch numerous people around us busily keeping score in their own score books while I just look up at the big screen to get the same information. I listen to the man behind me explaining the game to his 7 year old son who holds on to his new glove anxiously awaiting a fly ball. I like to watch the umpires as they call the game.
It was especially interesting to observe the 3rd base umpire. The 3rd base umpire doesn’t get much action. The home base umpire, of course, is involved throughout the whole game calling balls and strikes. The first and second base umpires even get more of the action, but the 3rd base guy, in a low scoring game, may not even make a call. As I watched the third base umpire for a while, I thought to myself, if I were that guy, I would be looking at the people in the stands, thinking about a hot dog loaded up with mustard, ketchup and cheese, wondering when football season is going to begin.
As I was getting lost in my thoughts, I noticed the batter did a check swing on a fastball that went by at about 98 mph and immediately the catcher pointed down to the 3rd base umpire. The 3rd base umpire gave the closed fist STRIKE! signal and the batter was out. It dawned on me, had I been the 3rd base guy, I would have been paying for a hot dog and not paying attention to the game. If the catcher would have pointed at me looking for a call, I would have responded with the deer in the headlights look.
That incident was a great reminder of Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2 (be prepared in season and out of season). As believers we need to pay attention to the opportunities God brings before us whether to serve or to share Christ. We who believe today, believe because people like Timothy were prepared, ready and willing to fulfill their mission. We never know when we will be called upon, but when we are, we need to be ready and willing to respond. As a result, we will be as a workman who does not need to be ashamed.