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Accepting an Improbable Mission

Depending upon the era, there is always someone that comes along who thinks they can do something better than everyone else before them. In 1985 Billy Bean developed a system that he called Moneyball to compete with Major League Baseball teams from major television markets. The latest theory in sports is analytics which is on pace to pass $4 billion by 2022. Sports analytics is a field that applies data analysis techniques to analyze various components of sports such as player performance. When coaches, managers and owners focus too much on analytics, Cinderella stories like David would have never been given a chance to face Goliath today.

And a champion went out of the camp of the Philistines named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span [almost ten feet]. And he had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of mail, and the coat weighed 5,000 shekels of bronze. He had bronze shin armor on his legs and a bronze javelin across his shoulders. And the shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; his spear’s head weighed 600 shekels of iron. And a shield bearer went before him. Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us, 1 Samuel 17:4-9.

If you examine the tale of the tape like a heavy weight boxing match, Goliath stood 9 feet 9 inches while David was just over 6 feet tall according to 1 Samuel 9:2. Although the Bible does not specify each of their weights, Goliath likely had David outweighed by more than 200 pounds. On paper, David didn’t stand a chance, similar to a suicide mission in a modern movie. Yet, based upon the passage below, there was no fear in David’s eyes. Prior to this duel, King Saul tried to prepare David with a coat of armor. but the weight hindered David’s ability to move. Instead of changing his strategy, David stuck with what he knew, approaching Goliath with 5 stones and a slingshot.

And David said to the men standing by him, What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God? – 1 Samuel 17:26

When I was a teenager, baseball was my best sport. After being the ace of my Junior High team, I expected to compete as a pitcher for a spot in the starting rotation on my high school team. Unfortunately, I became a victim of analytics. Since I didn’t throw over 80 miles an hour and I wasn’t 6 feet tall, I wasn’t given the opportunity to try out as a pitcher. Despite having command of my fastball like Greg Maddox, my talent was wasted as I left baseball one year later to pursue golf. I saw the writing on the wall and wasn’t willing to waste another year to accept an improbable mission. The older I get, the less willing I become to bet the odds. Yet, until you confront your fears and face your own Goliath in the eyes, you’ll never knew what you’re capable of with the power of God inside, Philippians 4:13.

by Jay Mankus

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