Earl Weaver, colorful manager of the Baltimore Orioles for 16 years, was famous for kicking dirt on umpires and putting his players in their places. One of his pet peeves was the overly spiritual Christian ballplayer. He had no time for the typically religious sayings of some of his players.
A case in point was the player that greeted him after hitting a home run with, “The Lord was with me, Skip;” to which Weaver replied, “Oh yeah? Then who was with that poor S.O.B. that just threw you that hanging slider?”
Or the time one of his players was trying to encourage him to “walk with the Lord,” and Weaver responded, “I’d rather YOU walk with the bases loaded!”
Some might see these responses as anti-religious; I see them as “anti-fluff.” There’s nothing in these statements that would rule out Earl Weaver being a man of faith. He’s merely asking his players to focus on their job as baseball players.
Spiritual integrity is built from the inside, not tacked on with a spiritual phrase now and then. Weaver must have sensed something about these guys that made their words seem hollow. He wanted them to focus on their responsibilities at hand.
Jesus and Earl Weaver have something in common. Jesus once said, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions” (Matthew 24:45-47).
This is a statement of action. It’s a “show me” statement. Before you say anything, it’s what you do that matters. Jesus is saying that He wants His disciples to see themselves as responsible servants. He wants them to see their tasks here on earth as training them for awesome responsibilities in heaven. How can He put us in charge of His kingdom when we aren’t doing a good job in our own?
These words haunt me, because there is much in my kingdom that needs attention. Oh I’ve been great with my words — I spend most of my time with words — but the kingdom of God is not just words; it’s words and deeds. Jesus and Earl Weaver have something to say to me this morning, and I ask you to consider if there is a message here for you as well. What’s your ball game? What’s the thing He’s asked you to do? How’s it going with that?
I ask that you pray for me as I will for you. I want to be that faithful servant the Master finds “doing so when he returns.” I have much to set right and much to do in my household here on earth. I want to have something to do in heaven. I hope He gives me a little more time to prove myself here.
Thanks to David Morgereth for the Earl Weaver quotes.