Lessons from Game Six

Posted on November 2, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Rankin Connecting

Did you see game six in the World Series last Thursday night? Commentators call it the most phenomenal play-off game in history. Being in the eastern time zone in Richmond it was almost 1:00 am when David Freeseʼs homerun snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat for the St. Louis Cardinals who went on to win the Series the next night.

It began as an unbelievably sloppy game. There had been only three errors in the first five games, but five errors in the early innings cost runs for both teams. The Texas Rangers were one strike away winning the World Series twice, but the Cardinals came back from two runs down with two outs twice to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth and tenth innings and avoid elimination. Since I was at the IMB to speak to new missionaries in training, my mind was reflecting on a number of life lessons that should be noted from this game.

1. Never, never, never give up. The Cardinals had to win 20 of their last 29 games and then a play-off game to even get in the championship series. They then beat the winningest team in major league baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies and the division winners, Milwaukee Brewers to get to the Series. They had rallied to avoid elimination several times, but when Josh Hamilton hit a home run for the Rangers in the tenth innining to put Texas ahead by two runs, the crowd started leaving. It was over. But then St. Louis got the two runs needed to tie and the rest is history.

No matter how many mistakes are made, no matter how far we get behind or the adversity we experience, never yield to defeat. Never give up hope. Many have dug themselves into a financial hole from which they feel they can never recover. Mistakes have resulted in strained relationships and broken dreams, but we must persevere and never lose the vision for coming back and claiming the victory.

2. Donʼt drop the ball. Everyone watched, incredulous, as fielders dropped the ball of an easy pop fly or fumbled a simple grounder allowing runners on base who eventually scored. We all carry responsibilities. It is essential to be conscientious and always follow through in performing well and fulfilling expectations. Donʼt drop the ball in fulfilling an assignment, making excuses, blaming others or under performing. There will always be consequences, and they are not good.

3. Donʼt get caught off base. At one point the Cardinals had the tying run on third base, but the runner got caught off base by a quick throw the from the catcher. One of the greatest disasters in life is to get caught off base–being somewhere you shouldnʼt be or doing something you shouldnʼt be involved in. Success demands maintaining a moral life and adhering to life values of purity and integrity. It takes diligence and intentionality to nurture your family base and stay true to oneʼs marriage. Keep the foundation of your walk with God secure, donʼt wander and go astray lest you get caught off base, and you forfeit the things that bring joy and victory.

4. Manage your assets wisely. Both teams had strong hitters. They werenʼt necessarily consistent but often came through with the big hit when needed. The antidote in baseball is a strong pitching staff; this is the asset that wins championships. Baseball teams have almost as many pitchers as other players on the roster. They have at least four starters, a cadre of relievers and specialty closers who come in to preserve the victory. They have a balance of left-handers and right-handers, but neither team used their assets wisely. The Cardinals used seven pitchers and the Rangers five, but neither seemed to have the right one in the game at the right time.

Each of us has assets for being successful in life and fulfilling Godʼs will. In trying economic time we are inundated with advice from financial institutions and managers about how to mange our assets by buying certain stocks and mutual funds or diversifying our investments. Everyone has unique talents and abilities. High priority is given to education and training. We all have significant assets for claiming a victorious and successful life and serving God, but do we use them wisely. Too often we complain about the circumstances and make poor decisions based on the urgent rather than keeping things in a long-range perspective. We use up our assets in the early innings by incurring indebtedness and forfeit financial security in future and the ultimate victory. We need to manage our assets wisely.

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