One Last Time – The Game That I Love

Today is a bummer of a day for me.  No one that I love died.  I can eat and pay my bills (inflation is a kick in the pants though). My family is healthy even though one kid has their arm in a sling. I will be ok yet today still kind of stinks.  Let me share and while sharing hopefully share something that is even more important than my tough day.

When I am working with a person or group who what to become a part of the church that I pastor I ask them a question.  I ask them, who are you? Let me answer that question.  I am Matthew.  I am a husband to my lovely bride.  I am a father to my lovely children.  I am a son to my wonderful parents.  I am a brother to my great siblings.  I am a pastor to my congregation.  I am many other things as well but for the last 35ish years, I have been a baseball player.  From getting dropped off a Bayview Highschool (at that time) and running down the hill to the t-ball field to little league, to high school and legion ball baseball was what I did. It was part of who I was.  Baseball brought excitement and tears as I screamed and ran with joy when the Twins won the World Series hitting my head on the coffee table and crying in pain while cheering that the team that I love won it all. Baseball is what drove my choices about college.  Baseball was a job in the minor leagues.  Baseball was my joyous hobby in a State that is second to none in adult amateur baseball playing with the Chaska Cubs and Faribault Lakers. I will be the first person to tell you baseball was not always ordered correctly aka it became an idol in my younger days while as time went on it was a tool that I used to hopefully have a chance to tell someone about Jesus and just meet people whom I would have never gotten the opportunity to meet.

Today is the first day that I have woken up and ceased thinking of myself as a baseball player (although I don’t think that has fully set in yet).  Today is the first time that at the end of a season there is no more hope of after a long winter there will be baseball to be played. Some have asked if I love it so much why am I hanging it up?   Is it because I’m not good enough?  Well, I just had maybe the best hitting season of my career so that is not the reason.  I still love the game and the Faribault Lakers are some of the best friends that I will most likely ever have. Last night as I walked through the gates of Bell Field on the way to my car, I couldn’t help but think about the scene from “Field of Dreams” when Moonlight Graham steps off the field to become a doctor to save the life of a child. There is greater work to be done than to play the game that I have loved for as long as I can remember. There is the work of a husband, father, son, and pastor. 

So do I simply cross off baseball player on that list? I don’t think that will actually soothe my soul today because as hard as it is to think about not playing baseball it is even harder to think about not having one of those other titles as a part of who I am.  To lose a game is minor compared to losing a parent or a spouse or a child.  Yes, I am Matthew who is a husband, father, son, baseball player, and pastor but all of these can be taken away so they cannot be who I am.  There is only one thing that cannot be taken away and that is the fact that I am a child of the only true God.  God sent His own Son to die on a cross and to rise from the dead with the promise of whoever trusts in Jesus will not perish but have eternal life. God has placed His name upon me when I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Nothing can take that away!  Baseball has been a blessing just as are all those other things that makeup who I am, but there is only one thing that is at the core of who I am and that is Jesus making me a promise that I belong to Him by His grace and by His work.

Who am I? I am a child of God who wants to do everything for the glory of God who so often comes up short but unlike the cruel game of baseball that I deeply love I don’t have to get myself home, Jesus has that under control. This reality is available for everyone including you.


  1. Amen, What a terrific message. Thank you for your ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ. My former high school & town team coach tink Larson forwarded this message to me. Very very good continue to build god’s kingdom . Blain Nelson. Waseca Mn 56093


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