Dear Brothers and Sisters, Spring is upon us, and it’s my favorite time of year for one simple reason – it’s baseball season! But there are a few teams you won’t see playing in the Major Leagues, teams that changed the history of baseball forever. Maybe you’ve seen “A League of Their Own,” or maybe you remember the era when the All-American Girls Baseball League took to the field and made history.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Spring is upon us, and it’s my favorite time of year for one simple reason – it’s baseball season! But there are a few teams you won’t see playing in the Major Leagues, teams that changed the history of baseball forever. Maybe you’ve seen “A League of Their Own,” or maybe you remember the era when the All-American Girls Baseball League took to the field and made history.
As America joined World War II, young and able-bodied men were leaving to fight. Baseball managers began wondering how to fill the stadiums while their athletes were away at war. It was Philip Wrigley, the chewing gum magnate, who had an idea to create a professional baseball league for women – something unheard of at the time. These lady baseball players were a hit – especially in small midwestern towns where the local community rallied around them. They became an important symbol of patriotism, perseverance, and overcoming obstacles during the decade or so the league was active.
These players were everyday people like you and me. I bet they never dreamed they’d be given such an opportunity – some players were as young as 15, and most of them made more money than the rest of their families put together, just by playing ball. The players came from all over and from a wide variety of backgrounds. They even had a theme song that proclaimed unity in diversity. One chorus went: We are the members of the All-American League, we come from cities near and far. We’ve got Canadians, Irishmen and Swedes, we’re all for one, we’re one for all, we’re all Americans!
This inspiring story reminds me of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. As Paul puts it in Galatians 3:26-28, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Historically, the rules of baseball excluded women; these girls may have had fast pitches and high batting averages, they may have been better players than any boy on the block, but they could not have expected to play more than an impromptu game here and there. That is, until an unprecedented opportunity came along, and they jumped at the chance.
Many followers of Jesus can feel the same way – that I’m not the fastest or the best, that others are better suited to be out on the field. God hasn’t gifted me to be a pastor or a youth group leader. But, Jesus does invite us all to get in the game, and there are no benchwarmers on his team. Although it was beyond what these lady baseball players could have imagined for themselves, they got the opportunity to step out of their everyday lives and into the spotlight. Christ has invited us to do the same. The old divisions that held us back don’t have power anymore – we are united in Christ. We all play for his team.
The players didn’t know how long their league would survive; as the war drew to a close, their future was uncertain. Because of this, they gave it all they had. No one saved herself for next season, or tried to avoid injury so she could have a long career. These women knew the future was uncertain, so they brought everything they had to each game. It’s a good reminder that we don’t know the future, either – only that God calls us to join in. You could spend your life training for the big tryout, or you could recognize that you’ve already been chosen, and that everyone has a position to play.
Even after the league shut down, the more than 600 women who had played didn’t lose touch – and they didn’t stop participating. They hosted junior leagues for young girls who wanted an opportunity to get on the field as well. They became historians of their own important legacy. They coached their children and grandchildren in the game they loved. There are many ways to participate in God’s kingdom, and an important part of our life together is raising up younger generations with the same passion and excitement for the call of Jesus.
Here at GCI, women play a vital role at all levels of the organization. Because in Christ old barriers have been broken down, we at GCI are committed to unity across gender, ethnicity, economic status, and across the globe. We want our organization to be the best team out there – and we don’t want to lose out on any of God’s gifted players by leaving anyone eager to play seated on the bench.
We at GCI love to join in – and there are many ways to play on God’s team. For some, it might be planting a new church in a community that needs to feel God’s love. For others, it might be committing to pray for a missionary family across the world. We participate whenever we serve in our local communities, in our church bodies, and internationally. Grace Communion International is a community of believers who play under the same head and give it our all. But Jesus isn’t just coaching from the dugout; he’s out on the field with us! We have put on the uniform of Christ, and we know that what each of us does matters to God’s team. When you support GCI, you show that you’re not content to sit on the sidelines. So, thank you for being valuable players on God’s team.
Let's get in the game!
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