Learning from Jesus and Earl Weaver

th-19Earl 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.

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9 Responses to Learning from Jesus and Earl Weaver

  1. I’ve often looked at displays of faith on the field and considered that the home run hitter pointing skyward as he crosses the plate was simply giving credit where it’s due. But after reading this piece, John, I realize there’s an element of “sticking it to the other guy” by implying that God is on the batter’s side, and not that of the poor SOB who threw the hanging slider. On the other hand, I think of Darcy Rota, who played for the Vancouver Canucks in the 80s: a born-again Christian who was tough, hard-working, and once told me, “I’ll share with anybody who wants to know but I don’t shove it in anybody’s face.” His deeds on and off the ice did the talking.

  2. Dirk Hoogendoorn says:

    John, thank you for this convicting message. My friend just passed away and I had been with him a number of times trying to talk to him about the Lord. What you wrote today makes me realize all the more that I should put all my effort into living my Lord rather than talking.

  3. I can see both sides of the ball, so to speak. I once used to work in a hospital and their was a patient who was a direct admit to the floor, coincidentally his first name was John. Anyhow I had to draw blood from this man and the cross I wore fell from my scrubs and he asked me if I was Catholic. I smiled and said I was( not a practicing one,lol) The urgency in this man’s voice as he started telling me of all of his good deeds that he did at his church, that I stood there holding his hand even though I was being paged to be in other areas of the hospital. What seemed long was only 15 minutes when I told him that I would return and sit to speak with him and he replied he would like that! I did in fact returned to learn that John died moments after I left. Then I was confronted by a Christian lady who said, “Wow, you missed your opportunity to ‘Save’ him!” I was chastised for doing what I thought Jesus did for anyone and that was giving the man comfort and my ear during a crucial time of his life, makes me wonder who threw that hanging slider?!

  4. Tim says:

    I also never trust anyone who uses Jesus to promote there business.
    I once had a customer tell me they wanted to hire me because I was a Christian. I replied that I prefer they use me because they know what kind of work I do.
    I told them they may not like the kind of Christian I am but would be happy with my work.

  5. I want to applaud all Christians who stick to their beliefs, exhibit a work ethic as if working for the Lord, and express their love for Christ in a realistic and loving manner – in whatever form it may take – while employed by an organization that could be termed either secular, non-sectarian, or not espousing any sort of religiosity.
    Early in my born-again life, I seized a terrific opportunity to work in Christian broadcasting through various radio stations around the country. Those were the days when I was introduced to John Fischer, Andraé Crouch, Keith Green, Nancy Honeytree, Sandi Patti, Amy Grant,The Imperials, Maranatha Singers, etc., etc., etc.
    It was both a blessing and a curse for this young wide-eyed malleable believer-
    The Blessing:
    What better environment for a young Christian to be exposed to with such uplifting music all the time (a perpetual state of worship!); having co-workers who believed what I believed; broadcast programs (Swindoll, Dobson, Smith, McGee, et al) that nurtured me along the way; the safety of an environment that shielded me from the harshness of the outside world; all that and more – PLUS doing the Lord’s work which was absolutely fun and also being paid for it!!!
    The Curse:
    What better environment for a young Christian to be tripped up by with such uplifting music all the time; having only co-workers who believed what I believed; broadcast programs that fed me mostly milk with bits of meat along the way; the safety of an environment that shielded me from the harshness of the outside world; all that and more – PLUS paying the price for not really doing what The Lord desired by not associating or identifying with (i.e: avoiding) others outside the Christian realm.
    Oh sure, we’d promote missions, ministry, and compassion toward destitute people around the planet – sometimes even getting our toes wet in the waters of a downtown food-bank or similar charity (operated by Christians, of course!); and technically, in our rose-colored understanding, we naively believed we were fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission through the airwaves by “reaching out” to unbelievers with the gullible imaginings that droves of “lost souls” were purposely tuning in to our stations looking for guidance, hope, answers, and eventual salvation.
    It was both a subtle and easy way to ignorantly develop a Pharisaical attitude toward “outsiders of the Faith” as well as toward those “inside the Faith” whom associated with those not of our ilk.
    After I left ‘the ministry’ and entered the ‘secular’ job market my eyes were opened to the “harshness of the outside world”. But that’s where I needed to be – and still am – in order to truly grow in my living, loving, lifelong relationship with Christ.
    I am both grateful and, yes, regretful for the opportunities both obtained and lost (and even unduly exploited) but I thank God every day for everything EVERYTHING He has permitted to come my way – even when I blew it.
    He knows. He still loves me. He still forgives me.
    While I don’t parade my Christianity in front of everybody and rarely ever point to the skies for any victories or successes granted me, I can unequivocally state that I have been on both sides of that “hanging slider” and I endeavor to give thanks to God at every opportunity regardless of the outcome.
    As for those who freely express their gratitude to God in front of audiences large or small, with or without questionable intent, I clap my hands and say, “Praise God!!!”
    I want to remind everyone of what Paul said in Philippians 1: “…what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice…”
    Nowadays, my personal mission and daily prayer is to try to be His blessing – and not a burden – to everyone I interact with whether at work, on the bus, at home, on the streets, or anywhere else I find myself.
    And at the end of each day, I make it a point and priority to praise and thank God for both the wins and the losses.
    While I cannot claim total success in my efforts to fulfill my mission and prayer every day, like Paul wrote, “I press on…” doing what I can to become the man God designed and desires me to be with the remaining years I have left on this old globe.
    Thank you all for patiently enduring this looong message. 🙂

    • iap2admin says:

      I was struck by what you said about working at a Christian radio station. When I was new to the faith, I thought I was supposed to work in Christian broadcasting; but I only lasted a few months before management decided they didn’t want me. As I drove away, two things became apparent: I had had a taste of that Pharasaical attitude that you experienced, Bob, and also the Lord spoke to me: “It is more important to be a Christian in broadcasting than ‘in Christian broadcasting’.”

    • jwfisch says:

      Thanks for your story, Bob. I think many will relate. I appreciate you!

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