28
Oct
11

Press On!

If the word “fan” is just a shortened version of fanatic, then I would categorize myself as a life-long baseball fanatic!  Last night, game 6 of the World Series was one of the best and most exciting I have ever seen!  Now I have always pulled for the American League and I am pulling for the Texas Rangers to win it all this year, but there can be no doubt that the St. Louis Cardinals are in this to win this.  This team is the quintessential  come from behind underdogs of the year.  Last night was no different from the rest of their year.  They came from behind to win the National League as a last day Wild Card addition to the play-offs.  They were trailing the Ranger last night 3 games to 2 and were behind right up until the last strike of the ninth inning.  The Cards ended up tying the game twice in extra innings and ultimately emerged with the win, sending the series to game seven.  These guys just refuse to go away!  They will not lie down!  Whether or not they emerge as MLB World Champs, no one can doubt their determination, their resolve to see it through to the end or their refusal to give up, even to the very last strike!
I’ve been spending some time revisiting the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  This morning I could not help but think of the game last night as I read the following words:

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” – Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)

Paul was writing this from a dark, wet, cold Roman jail cell.  He was charged with being an enemy of the Empire and that carried a sentence of death.  The Apostle was potentially down to the bottom of the ninth….down to his last strike….game over!  Still, he was able to say he was “looking forward to what lies ahead!”  Despite the odds against him his faith made him determined to “press on.”

As I write to you this morning, I’m thinking of some of you that I know are facing some seemingly insurmountable odds, and I am sure there are more of you in those circumstances than I know of.  You may be thinking that you’re down to your last strike and the bat in your hands seems way too heavy to swing.   Maybe for you it’s been a long hard game and you’re about out of gas…bone tired!  Here’s something that Paul knew that even the St. Louis Cardinals last evening did not.  We’re on Team Jesus and Team Jesus has already won!

Don’t think about the innings that have already happened.  Think about that fence in the deepest part of the ballpark,  keep your eye on the ball, and even when our Adversary throws his best curve-ball, take your best swing.  As that great baseball philosopher, Yogi Berra put it, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over!”  Well, our Lord Jesus has already declared the game “finished” from the Cross!  All we have to do is “press on” until we cross home-plate, because the game is already won!  Don’t give up my brothers and sisters!  PRESS ON!

UPDATE:  Since this post was written, the St. Louis Cardinals went on to become Major League Baseball’s World Champions in 7 games over the Texas Rangers.  More evidence that it pays to “Press on!”

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