Last Friday night, my son finished his High School Baseball career. It was an emotional night. His team had won state the year before and was preparing to make a second run, when their season was abruptly ended by a loss in the Regional Finals. None of the boys (and I dare say, none of the parents) thought this was their last game. There were tears, lots of them, and my son was no different.
What was different, is that my son did not play one inning or take one at bat for the four years he was a part of this team. He is the Manager. Four years ago when he tried out for the freshman team with all the other boys it was not his intention to be the Manager. He had played baseball since he could hold one and he loved it. Watching him come out of the locker room the day he was cut was heart breaking. I wanted him to get to play the sport he loved. I wanted the coaches to pick him and not some other kid. I wanted to hear my son’s name announced over the PA system and his number called out as he stepped to the plate. I wanted to hurt the people that hurt him. I assumed he would feel the same way.
Instead, he immediately informed the Freshman Coach he would like to be considered for the Manager position. He has served in that role these last four years. The time commitment has been staggering. Conditioning in the fall, every day practices starting in February thru June, late nights, long bus trips, and not one spring break trip (unless you call a tournament in Bullitt County a spring break trip). He missed youth events at church and was questioned often about why he would choose to give his time to this. I asked him the same question two years ago. His response was, “I just love serving these guys and the coaches—I was made to do this.” Made to organize and clean uniforms? Made to lug wheelbarrows full of clay around? Made to carry water to the umpires? Made to record and analyze batting statistics? Made to throw BP till your arm felt like it was going to fall off? That’s not what my son was made for.
But then I read Philippians 2, where Paul tells me to follow Christ’s example of humility. That though He was the VERY Son of God, he emptied Himself and took the form of a servant. Or in John 13, when in just a matter of hours Jesus would be handed over to be crucified, He picked up a towel and did what no one else in the room would lower themselves to do. Why is that so hard for me? I serve, but I serve in ways that get me noticed. I teach, I lead, I mentor. I’ve spent four years watching my son lead his team and himself by choosing the way of the towel. He has learned what his Mother still struggles with: when we serve – especially when there is nothing in it for us, we look most like our Savior.
It’s what we were made to do.
– Michelle Dunn