As I sat in the meeting room with Pastor John and Jess, we entered into prayer. I don’t know about you, but whenever I get deep into prayer, after a certain amount of time goes by and my heart is in the right place (that is, a humble one), I seem to empathize with Apostle John when he says, “Immediately I was in the Spirit” (Revelation 4:2, HCSB).
I began getting a vision about a baseball game being played. The Lord brought the word “Trinity” to mind and it seems that my mind naturally put the two together through the Holy Spirit’s aid. Now, no analogy is perfect concerning the Trinity, but when used together, many of them help us come to an understanding of how God works and who He is.
For sake of the analogy, all of the players are on the same team, “God’s Kingdom”. They are playing a scrimmage, so they are all supportive of one another’s work and skills on the team. Without all of the players, the game couldn’t happen.
God the Father: The pitcher
Jesus, the Son of God: The catcher
The Holy Spirit: The outfielders
People: The ball hitters and runners
The baseball: Works
The game starts out and The Pitcher throws the pitch. He starts out throwing hard pitches, striking everyone out. The ball is just too hard to hit, it’s going too fast to keep up with. Nevertheless, the Catcher gets every ball that is thrown, not missing a single one.
After the players have a respect for the Pitcher and his skills, they are thankful. After all, he’s going to be pitching for them for the rest of the season! How good it feels for the team to have a solid Pitcher. Also, the Catcher is catching the fastest and curviest of baseballs thrown at him. What a Guy!
The Pitcher then backs off a bit on the pitches. The Outfielders get to work in catching the hits from the ball hitters. Soon, though, the ball hitters realize that the Outfielders can get them out every time before they get to first base. So the Outfielders let them run around, and the ball hitters realize, “Golly gee whiz, I’ve got a great team behind me!”
How does this story illustrate the Trinity? I hope you’ll try and make sense of it through The Lord before looking at my explanation so take a Selah (likely means “pause” in the Psalms) and think about it first.
In the Old Testament, the Father started serving up some “pitches” or “works” to us. Really, these works were obvious because they were and are in His Word. Same with baseball, you just hit the ball, right? Actually, hitting them is a whole other ball game, especially when the pitcher is a real pro. In a similar way, being obedient to The Lord and all His commands isn’t exactly easy either.
But thanks be to God that there’s a Catcher, Jesus, who came to fulfill the Law: the requirements to be made right with God. He was born to catch the balls from the Pitcher.
The balls that we couldn’t hit, see the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, Jesus fulfilled every second of His life. Even the very first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me” is a ball we can miss hitting every day. When I wake up and give into going into my daily routine before Scripture or prayer, in a sense, I’m making that thing more important than God, thus making it a god that is before God! What I’m doing in that moment is serving the god of my to do list.
Because Jesus was able to “catch” the fast balls and curve balls thrown to us at first, The Father has given us the opportunity to play the ball game. Great, take me out to the ball game!
But how does The Father let us play the ball game? Through the guidance of the Outfielders, that is, the Holy Spirit at work through us and other believers. See, now, for we who have received Christ, God dwells in us. We can only play the game through the power of God in our lives: the Holy Spirit Himself.
Titus 3:3-7: “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient,deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Here’s the scene: the Father serves up a nice ball to hit: sharing the Gospel. Since we are now heirs through Christ’s ultimate catch, we hit the ball in the conversation with a friend about Jesus and His saving power.
Sometimes, the Holy Spirit will have us stop at first base in that conversation and simply share the Gospel. That person may not reach saving faith in Christ in that moment. Thus, the Holy Spirit will use someone else to then talk with them about Christ or answer questions, letting the runner reach second or third base. Then, He may let another person run all the way to home plate and bring them, through the Lord’s help, to saving faith in Christ!
Ultimately, the Outfielders, the Holy Spirit, is the One who guides us into the steps we need to take. Sometimes, we can ignore His guidance and try to run to home plate when we may miss the opportunity altogether. In some situations, we are only meant to reach first base, but this can only be achieved through being aware of where the ball is hit and strategically going a base at a time with whatever “work” the Lord has given us.
For example, think about Paul’s journey. He was prevented by the Holy Spirit by going certain ways in order to go to others. In Acts 16:
“6 They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; 7 and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; 8 and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
The ball we hit could be many different opportunities the Lord has for us: being a housewife who serves her family as to the Lord, being a child who obeys his parents, helping a friend in a time of need, giving food to the poor through a means to share the gospel, giving flowers to a loved one. The list goes on in God’s Word.
The key is that as we read through Scripture, we learn about all the baseballs we get to hit. All of these things are opportunities to serve on Christ’s team!
Let’s not get too carried away though, it’s not solely up to us, nor was it ever. The Holy Spirit is the One who ultimately brings regeneration.
As Paul said through God’s Spirit: 5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:5-9, NASB).
Note verse 8: “each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” It is important to note that the works that The Father pitches to us, if we hit them, and how far we choose to run, will affect how we are rewarded in the Christian judgment, not of condemnation but of reward (Read further on in 1 Corinthians 3:10-14).
Christ can catch any baseball we can’t hit and He caught the ultimate one: fulfilling the Old Testament Law perfectly. It was only through this ultimate catch that we can have the opportunity to serve Christ and to enter into eternal life!
Here is 1 Corinthians 3:10-14 (NASB):
10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.