Are We Caught Shoeless?


Leo  was a teammate on my high school baseball team. He was not a particularly good baseball player like the rest of the team. He didn’t hit well, so the whole year he never got up to bat. He didn’t field that well so he never played in the field. In fact he sat on the bench game after game watching and I’m sure wishing he was playing. Why then did our baseball coach have him on the team when he couldn’t hit or field? He had lightening speed and was held in reserve only to be used as a “pinch” runner.

We were about half way through the season when our coach saw fit to put him in the game.  We were winning late in a game when the coach yelled down from his third base box for Leo to pinch run for our slow running catcher. As I glanced down the bench I could see Leo sitting with his feet up against the fence, cleats off, stockings gleaming. He seemed to be in a dream world so I yelled down to him, “Leo, Coach wants you to pinch run!” He was startled and scrambled about looking for his cleats. It was clear that he didn’t know where they were. The coach was now yelling louder and louder for him to go to first base and pinch run. Leo continued his frantic but unsuccessful search for his allusive cleats. By now our coach was out of his box walking towards us and yelling at the panic-stricken Leo. As he neared he saw that Leo was in stockings and yelled at him “Leo, sit down!” His moment had come and his moment had just gone. Our coach walked back to the third base box with a disgusted look on his face. Leo sat red-faced on the bench never to be asked to enter a game for the rest of the season.  It was clear that when Leo’s time arrived to showcase his talent, he had been caught “without his shoes on.”

And so Leo never got to shine or show his talent because he was caught unprepared. Over the years I have seen many wonderful opportunities for service presented to church members who were in reserve and waiting on the bench for their time. Most often the member was ready,  but others were caught sleeping on the bench without their shoes on,  and the opportunity for service, which brings with it great blessings, passed them by, never to return.

Christ said, regarding his coming:

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matt. 24:36)

May we live our lives such that,  when the call comes from our coach above, we are ready and available to serve and showcase the talents that the Lord has given to each of us.  May we be found with our “shoes on” at the day of His coming!

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