The Messenger. 05.15.08
Written by members of the Obion County Ministerial Association
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are in fact doing.” (I Thessalonians 5:11)
Willie Mays began his major league baseball career with only one hit in his first 26 at-bats. Though he went on to hit 660 home runs (third on the all-time list) and steal more than 300 bases, his debut was so unimpressive it seemed unlikely he would last more than a few weeks as a big-leaguer, let alone become one of the greatest to play the game.
The turning point for Mays occurred when his manager, Leo Durocher, found him crying in the dugout after yet another miserable performance at the plate.
The coach put his arm around Mays and said, “What’s the matter, son?”
Mays said, “I can’t hit up here. I belong in the minor leagues.”
Durocher said this to Willie Mays: “As long as I’m manager of the Giants, you’ll be my centerfielder.”
You know how the story ends. It wasn’t long before Mays began hitting the ball, and he was on his way to becoming a legend of the game.
If Willie had been left alone in the dugout that day, his career might have ended before it started. Fortunately for him (and for baseball), someone believed in him even when he didn’t believe in himself.
Durocher’s speech wasn’t, “You’re a disappointment. Do you know how much you’re costing the team? You’re on the verge of blowing your big chance.”
He simply said, “I know that you can make it.”
Is there someone in your family, a next door neighbor or a Christian friend who needs your encouragement? Do you sense that they are about to give up or that they have stopped believing in themselves? Have they started looking to the ways of the world to handle their problems in life?
You have the opportunity to lift them up. Through your words, your kindness and your love, you can make a difference.
Have you noticed how often in the New Testament the word “strength” (or “build up”) accompanies the word “encouragement”? The Apostle Paul recognized the value of encouragement in the lives of believers. When you offer encouragement to others you are building someone else up.
Allow God to use you to encourage someone today. It could make a difference for eternity.
The Rev. Judd Mowery
Troy and Sanders Chapel United Methodist churches