Are You Stuck Playing “Small Ball”?

By Bob Shank
September 18, 2023

Are You Stuck Playing “Small Ball”?

Listen to the commentary


Dear Marketplace Friend,

Football is back in action. Baseball is getting ready to do the wrap-up. Jets fans are worried about the fate of Aaron Rodgers; Angels fans are gazing into the future wondering if they’ll have Shohei Ohtani back on the mound. Athletes and contests offer a welcome distraction from the other sectors of modern life that lack winners and wieners and become a source of rich metaphor as we work to sort through the imponderables of the nasty battles that surround us today on so many fronts. What’s a timely take-away for today as we embark on yet-another week of never-ending conflict?

Here’s one: most of us spend most of our days, lost in the micro, and blind to the macro.

In baseball, there is a strategy called small ball. The idea is simple: lacking any home-run hitters, the team relies on getting runners to first base. A steady flow of small victories – without unfortunate “outs” to interrupt the plan to populate the bases – will ultimately force runs across home plate. With no expectation of anyone stepping up to swing for the fences and put the fans on their feet, small ball doesn’t excite the audience, but it can ultimately win the outing.

What do you do if everyone is only focused on getting to first base? It’s an important element of the game, but to win the World Series requires an overarching sense of purpose that sees October as the prize, even before Spring Training convenes. The leaders must see past first base…

The Christian experience can quickly erode to small ball, without a long view that anticipates and actualizes the macro vision. Myopia restricts one’s view to just the close-at-hand and disallows the long-view to the horizon. While daily faith is critical, it becomes tough to sustain if the eternal horizon is not in play.

What is God up to?” is a question we raise internally, without submitting it to small group talking points. It’s a response to life’s unexpected interruptions – the fender-bender while on the way to an important meeting, or the diagnosis of a chronic-though-manageable – disease. We seek his purpose in small ball, micro scenes… and too seldom have in mind the home run play. What is God up to?

Cosmic restoration:” nothing less adequately describes God’s mission. God has committed himself not only to re-create his universe to its original, spectacular condition but also – as the Bible’s apocalyptic literature attempts to convey – to display added, inexpressible magnificence in the coming New Heaven and New Earth. The God of the Bible is a big God, and his mission is a big mission.

Genesis 1 opens the Story of Everything with an amazing recounting of the Origins of all we can see. God is the ever-present main character, and his exploits – in summation – involve the output of the Creator’s workshop during a six-part cycle. What’s the purpose of the creation of the universe? Shocking: to provide a place for his ultimate work product – the human race – to call “home.” Man was not made to serve the environment; the environment was created to serve mankind.

Adam and Eve blew it. They suffered consequence, and so did the environment. God hit the “reset” button, and Jesus came to Earth to put the New Plan in play. The Old Testament begins with Creation; the New Testament points toward re-Creation. The macro model is all things new, and the Great Commission is our assignment in preparation for that culmination of his Plan.

So, a question I pose to myself – and, to you – as we bring ball-game wisdom into real-life: are we just playing small ball, trying to get to first? or, are we on the way to the World Series? What’s the Big, Holy, Audacious Goal (BHAG) that gets you swinging for the fences?

Macro? or, Micro? That’s the constant challenge, today and every day. What’s the biggest thing in your game plan as you get ready for the kick-off of the last quarter of the 2023 season?

Bob Shank

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top