by: Allen Domelle
For several years I lived on the central coast of California. It was during my teenage years that the Oakland A’s had Mark McGuire and Jose Canseco as the main focus of their offense. Everyone who followed the A’s got excited when one of these men got up to bat. We cheered when they came to bat because we wanted to see them hit a home run. Many of the home runs were towering hits that brought the crowds to their feet. When they walked to the plate, the pitchers pitched more carefully than before because one wrong pitch and the ball would fly over the fence.
One of the most important keys to that team was Ricky Henderson. Ricky Henderson was known for his ability to steal bases. When he got on base, the pitcher had a hard time staying focused on the batter because of Henderson’s ability to steal bases. What was interesting about Henderson was that he didn’t try to hit home runs when he got up to bat, but he simply tried to get on base. How he got to first base didn’t matter, he just wanted to get there because that was when he could attempt to steal bases and eventually score a run. Though Henderson was not a home run hitter, every once in awhile he would hit a home run. In my opinion, the most important player to the A’s organization during those championship years was Ricky Henderson. With him on base, the pitchers couldn’t put their complete focus on the batters at the plate which allowed them to score more runs because of poor pitching.
One of the mistakes many young preachers make with their sermons is they try to hit a home run every time they get up to preach. That was certainly one of the mistakes I made when I started preaching. I wanted every sermon to be a home run or grand slam. I wanted every sermon to be the next “Fresh Oil” or “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” That desire to preach a great sermon every time caused unnecessary pressure that I should have never placed on myself. One of the greatest things that helped my preaching was when I stopped trying to hit a home run every time I got up to preach; instead, I just tried to get on first base with every sermon. It was then that I began to help people better, and every once in awhile God would give me a home run sermon.
In Matthew 13:45-46, you will find the parable of the Pearl of Great Price. What is interesting about this merchant who found the pearl of great price was that he did not go looking for it; instead, it says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:” Notice, the merchant was only looking for “goodly pearls.” It was while he was seeking for goodly pearls that he found the pearl of great price. Had he only looked for the pearl of great price, he probably would not have found it and passed over the goodly pearls.
Moreover, the goodly pearls were collectively of the same value as the pearl of great price. Verse 46 says, “Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” In order for this merchant to buy the pearl of great price, he had to sell all the goodly pearls to afford the pearl of great price.
Furthermore, the merchant lost sight of the value of the goodly pearls. What he forgot was that the pearl of great price could only help one person, whereas the goodly pearls helped many people. If you valued the pearls by how many people they would help, the goodly pearls were of more value than the pearl of great price.
Preacher, whenever you preach a sermon, just try to get on base. You will help more people when you try to get on base with your preaching than if you try to hit the home run. When you try to hit the home run, you will find that you will strike out more often. The base hit batter usually has a better batting average than the home run hitter. I would rather help more people by getting on base and helping those I’m preaching to than to attempt to hit the home run every time and strike out and miss helping those who came to hear me preach.
This same thought can be applied to many other areas. The Sunday school teacher doesn’t need to worry themselves with trying to hit a home run every time they teach a lesson. The Sunday school teacher would do themselves much help by simply trying to get one truth across to each person every week. Don’t worry about hitting the home run lesson every week; instead, go help each person to whom you teach and you will influence more lives.
When you go soul winning, stop trying to get the great soul winning story and instead just get the Gospel out to the lost. The soul winner who is more interested in trying to find the great soul winning story will miss many people whom they can lead to Christ. I would rather be the soul winner who gets the Gospel to as many people as possible than to wait for the one soul winning experience that seems to be the home run.
Parents needs to stop trying to hit a home run with their child every time they do activities with them and instead just spend time with their child. The parent who is always trying to hit the home run spends countless amounts of money thinking that they can buy the home run memories when if they would just spend time with their children the home run memories would be created. Most of the memories my daughter and I have were not created by money being spent; rather, they happened because I was just trying to get on base and enjoy my time with her.
The same can be applied to married couples. Too many married couples are trying to have the home run marriage when the best marriages are ones where the husband and wife simply do what they are supposed to do out of love for each other. They find that some of the greatest marital memories come from spending time with each other. Instead of waiting once a year to have a grand vacation, the best marriage will spend time with each other every week. The great marriages would rather have a base hit marriage which results in a championship marriage down the road. I’m not against taking nice trips if you can afford it, but that won’t make a strong marriage. A strong marriage is made when the husband and wife do what God commands them to do out love for each other. This creates time together, which creates a stronger bond and eventually makes a championship marriage.
Whatever you do, you need to become a Christian who just tries to get on base with every thing you do. When you go soul winning, just try to get on base. When you teach your Sunday school class, just try to get on base. When you run your bus program, just try to get on base. I believe you will find that you will score more runs for God if you just load the bases by getting on base. The bonus with getting on base is that every once in awhile God allows you to hit a home run. When that happens, don’t become enamored with it, but go back to the plate and try to get on base again with those whom God allows you to help.