In baseball the designated hitter steps in and bats for the pitcher. David Ortiz (Big Papi) is set to ride the pine, as a DH, when the Red Sox head to St. Louis in the next game of the World Series. They need him to, Red Sox pitchers came to the plate this season and, out 26 appearances, only managed 1 hit; in other words , they stink at the plate.
In the game of life, you and I, we’re all a bunch of pitchers and we kinda stink at the plate; what we really need is for someone to step in and bat for us. The problem is finding someone who is good enough to do the job. The only way we can really get over home plate (heaven) is to round the bases; we really have to have someone drive us in. You see, as good of a person as we are capable of being, all we’re really good at is pitching, and even on our best days that doesn’t do anything towards getting runs. You could be the most celebrated pitcher to ever live, throwing stones of fire and painting every corner, but, at the end of your life all that amounts to is a decent ERA and doesn’t do anything to get you across home plate with God. Your best ERA keeps the other team from beating you up too badly.
Now, you could trust a lot of things to get you across the plate; trusting that you’ve been good enough, your baptism, that your were raised in a christian home, that you’re the pastor’s kid, or that you’ve never missed a Sunday morning or Wednesday night, they’d all seem like reasonable foundations for hope in your eternal future, but in reality it’s kinda like trusting Vin Scully (hall of fame broadcaster for the Dodgers since 1950) to bat for you; now as great of a play-by-play announcer as he’s been for the dodgers for the last 64 seasons it would be dern’ near impossible for him to get a piece of the ball when its hurtling past him at 100+ mph.
There is only one batter who bats a .1000. He never misses; they can’t even pitch around him to get to the next batter… he always hits home runs, and I started using him on January 22nd of 2011. He bats for me now in this life, and for the next. I have complete assurance of where I’m going, even if I died tonight, because of the work that he does for me every day, and the work that he did for me 2000 years ago. And here’s the kicker. It really doesn’t matter all that much how my pitching is… because, even if I give up a bunch of runs this afternoon I know in the next inning he’s gonna put me back on the board. I don’t have to trust my own ability to be a good man anymore, I know at the end of the season were gonna be at that very top because of the work that he’s done. Even great pitchers rely on great offenses.
So this is the big deal about Jesus. I hope that I haven’t offended you at all in writing this, but the good news about Jesus is a little offensive. To think that I am not good enough for heaven is a little bit of a smack in the face, but when I consider who God is, and how perfect his is, and how much I’ve failed in this life, over and over and over again… I know deep down that I need him and that he’s the only one who can do the job good enough. God requires us to bat .1000 average to get into heaven but then he laces up his cleats, throws on his own helmet and heads for the batters box to do what we know we could never do. I need him, and deep down you need him too; we all do.