Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
"He's made it to the big leagues."
That baseball expression says someone has beaten the odds and is now numbered as being among the best.
And if you are wondering what kind of odds we are talking about, some research turns up:
* If you are a high school senior playing interscholastic baseball, the chances of you someday being drafted by a Major League Baseball team is .5 percent.
* If you are a senior playing on a National Collegiate Athletic Association team, the odds on you being drafted by a major league team is 5.6 percent.
* If you have been drafted into a minor league team, the chances you will play a game in the Big Leagues is 10 percent.
"He's made it to the big leagues" is an expression which has actually outgrown its baseball origins and now is applied to other facets of life where an individual has conquered great odds to achieve a level of excellence. When you've made it to the big leagues, you are among the best.
Dakota Hudson is a pitcher for the AAA-farm team, the Memphis Redbirds. Recently, he was pitching a game against the Salt Lake Bees. His first inning had been a good one: three batters up and three batters down. The second inning wasn't going as well for the right-hander. He walked the first batter and allowed a single to the second.
It wasn't a disastrous situation, and Hudson was fully prepared to pitch his way out of trouble.
Just before the third batter stepped into the box, Hudson saw his manager, Stubby Clapp, walking out to him. A visit by your manager is never a good thing. You can be pretty sure he is either going to give you a word of wisdom and encouragement or he is going to pull you out of the game and bring in someone else to take your place.
This time Manager Clapp did neither of those two things.
Instead of chewing out his pitcher, Clapp told Hudson he had been called up and he had "made it to the big leagues." Hudson broke into a grin that went ear to ear, and his teammates applauded, clapped him on the back, and offered their congratulations.
As I watched the entire team jump around in joy because a teammate had achieved a dream that all of them shared, I began to think of how that entire scenario might apply to sinful human beings who want to be called up to heaven.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized there is no comparison.
The truth is a person can try to lead a good life and win God's approval, but that individual is never going to be good enough to get into heaven on his own. In short, the odds of a sinner making it into heaven on his own merit is zero percent.
Heaven only becomes a reality when we have Jesus Christ as our Savior. It is He who lived a perfect life; it is He who resisted every temptation to sin, and He who carried our sins to the cross. Because of what He has done in His life and His resurrection, all who believe on Him as Savior are granted forgiveness and eternal life. Because of Jesus, believers will make it to the big leagues.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for the Savior whose sacrifice has saved my soul and changed my eternal destiny. May others be given a faith which knows they are rescued only by the Redeemer. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Alex Butler for the UPI on July 30, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: https://www.upi.com/Sports_News/MLB/2018/07/30/St-Louis-Cardinals-Minor-League-pitcher-gets-MLB-call-up-during-game/7241533001573/?ls=5
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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