— Lori Stepp, CCC Member
A colleague of mine who is both the baseball coach and Bible teacher where I work has a sign on his classroom door that states, “Sacrifice is more than a Bunt in Baseball.” I daily walked by that sign for over a year without really understanding what it meant. While I technically knew what a bunt was, I didn’t comprehend the nuances of baseball enough to understand why it was considered a sacrifice. Then, my youngest son entered the world of competitive baseball.
One thing that I have learned as a “Baseball Mom” is that each time a young player is “at bat” is a monumental moment, one where he (or she) is hoping to hit harder and farther than before, always hoping for a chance at a home run! I absolutely love each time my child is up to bat, video camera in hand, anxiously hoping for him to get an even better hit than before. So, the first time that my child’s coach strategically called him to take a bunt, I finally understood why it would be considered a sacrifice. My son was called to forfeit his opportunity to get the “hit of a lifetime” and most likely get tagged out in order for his team to get a better play. My son happily took a bunt wanting the win for his team; yet, I sheepishly admit that I felt cheated, wanting my son to have his opportunity to shine, clearly, thinking more about my son than the team.
The next time that I read the sign on my colleague’s door, I was reminded of my self-focused attitude on the baseball field and then it “hit” me (pun intended), “Sacrifice IS more than a bunt in baseball.” I now understood why a bunt could be seen as a small sacrifice to a player yet how much more does the word sacrifice mean to a Christian. In Ephesians 5 we find the command to, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” Christ is our model for what it means to sacrifice. In love, He gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life, for our sin. And this sacrifice was pleasing to our Father.
As I embark on a year where the church is asking us to consider,“Lord, how may I serve you?” I think of ways that I could sacrifice myself in service of others. Yet, I have grown convicted that many of the things that I see as sacrifices in my life (my time, my comfort, my self-ambition) are really just “bunts.” Through my service towards the church and others, how can I better imitate Christ’s example of sacrifice? Even more, how am I foolishly tempted to view giving “bunts” as sacrifices, and thereby miss out on the beauty and closeness of obeying the Lord in precisely what He is calling me to do? Praying through and embracing this truth in Ephesians motivates me to seek out ways to serve and love others, not focusing on my personal gain or glory but focusing on God’s Kingdom and more importantly on Christ and what he has done for me.
As we look for ways to serve our Lord in this upcoming year, which will most likely lead us to sacrifice part of ourselves for His Kingdom, I pray that we all will see that SACRIFICE is more than a bunt in baseball; it is a tangible and beautiful way to serve Christ and participate in His love for us.