About a month ago, I began to ponder in my mind the message I wanted to communicate to my 11-12 year old baseball team and their parents on opening day. Since I believe brevity is clarity, I try to say as little as possible, maximizing the power of each word. Unsuccessful in my initial attempts, the novel idea of praying for wisdom led to form the invocation I shared today for Greater Newark’s Baseball League’s Opening Day Ceremony.
Not shy about public speaking, last year I was put on the spot after the reverend who was scheduled could not attend, called in from the bullpen to relieve the starter. With 3 words on my heart, today’s last second notice was not as shocking. Thus, the theme I wanted to share with just my team, was broadcast to all in attendance, in accordance with God’s will!
The first word God gave me was memories. Whether a ball player hits a home run, assists in making a double and triple play or makes a game winning catch, these moments in time will be forever etched in a youth’s mind. No one can take these memories away, brought to recall each time they pass a ball field in life.
This second word has had a much deeper meaning in my life, friendship. After my 3 children spent 10 years at the same private school, a lost job thrust each into the public school system, scary for any parent, especially in Delaware. On the first day of his new school, my middle child Daniel came home estatic. In homeroom, one of his best friends from baseball, Xavier, introduced him several students, making him feel at home.
Finally, the last word the Holy Spirit gave me was legacy. The game of baseball provides a series of tests, blown calls from umpires to name of few. Yet, this game teaches great life lessons which can develop character within a child’s life, James 1:4. Therefore, how you respond to these circumstances dictates the legacy you leave behind: good, bad or ugly. At the conclusion of the game, when the scoreboard is turned off and the crowds part ways, how will people remember you? Until this day, play ball!
by Jay Mankus