Though Kyle was a senior and didn’t get regular playing time, he was a valuable member of his high school baseball team. I watched him during warm-ups and in the dugout during the two regional games when he didn’t play at all. He wasn’t scowling at the coaches or sulking on the bench. He was smiling. I watched him encourage teammates, celebrate each play that led them closer to victory, and stand raising the trophy with pride in his eyes. Kyle chose to be happy with where his coaches placed him. In the semi-final game of the state tournament, his team was tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh when Kyle was called in to pinch hit. With two strikes on him, he stepped into the batter’s box ready to do whatever he could for his team just like he had been doing all year, from wherever he was. With runners on, Kyle hit a shot into left field and a runner scored – game over. Kyle had a big hit that won the game to send his team to the championship. The same smile that had been on his face after the regional win, filled his face as he celebrated with his teammates. The Thunder went on to win their first state championship in baseball.
Once the excitement of victory calmed down (though I am still smiling now just remembering those three days of the tournament), I really thought about Kyle’s role on the team and his big hit. There are times when I feel like I’m stuck on God’s bench. I’m not a missionary winning hearts for Christ in a foreign land, I’m not a published writer whose books are helping bring people to Christ, I’m not a speaker on a stage in front of thousands. I’m a mom and wife. Maybe you’re feeling like you’re on God’s bench, too. You’re thinking, “I’m just a teacher, nurse, doctor, day care provider, farmer, bank teller, clerk… God’s not using me.” I think we can learn something from Kyle about being on God’s bench. If you feel like you’re sitting uselessly on the bench, maybe your attitude about being on the bench is wrong. Are you on the bench because you have chosen that position? Have you failed to follow the coach’s instructions about what he wants for you? Or, have you truly sought God’s will and leading in your life? If you have given him control and followed his leading, but you’re still sitting on the bench, it’s time to embrace your role. When you scowl at his plans, sulk on the bench, or try to do things your way, you interfere with his ultimate game plan. You may be on the bench, but you are not useless. If God has placed you on the bench, he can use you there. Whether you are just a teacher, nurse, doctor, day care provider, farmer, bank teller, clerk, you can “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free” (Ephesians 6:7-8).The great coach with the master game plan, has placed you right where you are. He has you in the position he chose for you so that you can best support his team and lead it to victory to bring him glory. But, if you sit on the bench, content to be where God has placed you, using your energy to support his team and encourage others, you are a valuable member working hard for our coach, the Lord. He has given you the job of sitting on the bench, and he trusts you to fill that role to bring him glory. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10). Some day, some inning, he’s going to look at you and say, “We need a hit, you’re up.” When you step up to that plate and settle into the batter’s box, be ready because God has a big hit planned for you. He’s seen it coming all along, and he’s chosen you, just you, to step up. Because you have served him in the little things, he can use you in the big things. So, be ready.
Lord, help me not just to be content where you have placed me, but help me to be happy with my role on your team. Forgive me for whining about not being useful to you. Instead, help me to be open to your coaching and let me be used where you have put me. Thank you for being the ultimate coach and having a game plan for my life. I pray that I see and follow your will.