Encourage One Another
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."1
King Duncan writes about Larry Doby who was one of baseball's finest hitters. He is well known by baseball fans because he was the first African-American to play for an American League team. "The year was 1947. Doby was a promising rookie for the Cleveland Indians but he didn't look very promising his first time at bat. He was tense and nervous. He swung at three pitches, missed each of them, and struck out badly. He didn't get within a foot of the ball. Slowly he walked to the dugout with his head down. He sat on the very end of the bench and rested his head in his hands.
"A player by the name of Joe Gordon was on that same Cleveland team. Joe was an outstanding second baseman. He batted right after Doby. Gordon had a good record batting against the pitcher who was on the mound that day. But something quite extraordinary was about to happen. Joe Gordon went up to the plate and missed three pitches in a row—each of them by at least two feet. He walked slowly to the end of the bench and sat down next to Larry Doby. Then Joe Gordon slowly put his head in his hands.
"Did Joe Gordon strike out that day deliberately? We will never know. However it is interesting to note that every time Larry Doby went out on the field from that day on, he first picked up Joe Gordon's glove and tossed it to him."2
One would suspect that Joe Gordon probably did strike out deliberately. Good for him if he did. Sad to say there are some people in the church who are threatened by anyone who might be able to do something better than they can do or gain a little more recognition, so they underhandedly seek to block them at every turn. Think of how the religious people of Jesus's day treated Him? They were so green with envy, they eventually had Him crucified.
But thank God for the "Joe Gordons" who have the gift of encouragement and exercise it generously! Let's all encourage someone today. It could make a great difference in their life—perhaps for eternity.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for the many people who have encouraged me along the way … have cheered me on when I was dragging my feet … and lifted me up when I have fallen. Please help me to do the same for others. And above all, thank You for Your unfailing faithfulness to and everlasting love for me, even when I have been at my worst. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV).
2. King Duncan www.sermons.com