This season, I’ve been invited to be the Fellowship of Christian Athletes speaker for the McCracken County High School softball team. It’s something I’ve done for three years now, and I look forward to the time with the girls and coaches every week. Today, in our first meeting, I shared this modified scripture. Its original form is found here, at 1 Corinthians 12:14-22, 26. I consider what follows the “Dusty Version” or “DV” translation*:
For the team does not consist of one member, but of many. If the catcher should say, “Because I am not a pitcher, I do not belong to the team” that would not make her any less a part of the team. And if a first baseman should say, “Because I’m not a shortstop, I do not belong to the team,” that would not make her any less a part of the team. If the whole team were a catcher, where would be the pitching? And if the whole team were outfielders, where would the pinch runners be? But as it is, God arranged the members of the team, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the team be? As it is, there are many positions, yet one team. The pitcher cannot say to the designated player “I have no need of you” nor again the third baseman to the bench player, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the members of the team that seem to be weaker are indispensable. If one teammate suffers, all suffer together. If one teammate is honored, all rejoice together. (1 Corinthians 12:14-22, 26 DV*)
It’s so easy for athletes to get caught up in individual achievements. On a team with any sort of skill, and you can find several of those kinds of softball teams in western Kentucky, you’re going to have your stars, standouts, studs and supernovas. But even your stars know that without the team behind him or her, they’re nothing. Pitchers can’t pitch if the catcher doesn’t catch. It requires more than just the nine people on the field. A quality program involves the stars down to the scrubs. Everyone plays a role in moving toward a big goal. For McCracken’s case: another state title.
As these verses are actually found in the Bible, Paul uses the body as the metaphor to encourage the Corinthians to come together and unify. May we lay aside our own hubris in our lives and work together in our jobs, homes and churches as a team. Pitchers, catchers, bench players, all of us.
*Before anyone gets upset, I don’t believe in changing scripture, nor do I make a habit of this. I’m not a heretic. It was just a fun way to open up the minds of young people to thinking about God’s word and inspiring them to action. Plus, I bet if Paul were writing to a softball team in Corinth, he would have totally opted for the team/player analogy.