Bases are loaded. The score is 2-1, and only one out. Things are not looking good for the Salt Lake Bees. Can they get out of this jam or will the Isotopes batter knock it out of the park for a grand slam?
Wham! Tom Murphy clears the fence and in a seconds the Albuquerque Isotopes take a 5-2 lead leaving the Bees buzzing to get out of the inning. Sammy (our newest addition to the stuffed animal collection) couldn’t even get his left wing up because he was so depressed that the Bees were falling apart (and I was dared to take Sammy to the game – I don’t tote stuff animals around… well, not very often). We were all depressed, but that soon changed as the Bees rallied and came back to win 8-6. Woo-hoo!
You don’t witness a grand slam every ball game, in fact, they are rare. Looking at some factoids, it is like one grand slam for every 1,219 at bats in the major league! Chances of grand slams are greater in the minors, but certainly not every game, week or even month!
Everyone wants to hit a grand slam – whether in baseball or in life. Whether we consciously admit it or not, we each want to have that defining moment when we knock it out of the park and score four runs. But here’s the thing, no grand slam is complete without the help of others. There is no way a single person can accomplish a grand slam. The greatest batting achievement during a game requires other teammates to get on base, sacrifice bunts, steal bases, have a sharp eye for balls and get walked, and so on. It can never be a solo achievement – never.
As I watched each Isotope player round the bases to home, it struck me that each guy played a significant role in the grand slam. The guy on third base was just as important as the guy at bat. The guy who hit a sacrifice bunt so runners at 1st and 2nd could advance was critical. So in the midst of Tom Murphy’s shining moment, it really was a collection of pivotal moments that resulted in greatness.
The moment we think we are achieving something on our own, we are in trouble. The moment we believe that we are the best at something, we are in trouble. The moment we think other people are just stepping stones to our success, we are in trouble. We can’t truly survive and thrive on our own. We need people, not to step on but rather to rely on, in order to achieve true success. We can’t do any part of this life on our own. We can’t do life – at least a life worth living – apart from God. So for me, a grand slam in life looks like this:
- God is the pitcher. He sends things our way and provides us with opportunities to succeed.
For example, I am asked to speak at a large women’s conference (DREAM BIG!).
- Other people in our lives are the players who occupy 1st, 2nd, and 3rd bases, who are willing to be part of the team for the good of the team.
People in my life help to open doors, make introductions, provide endorsements that lead to the invitation to speak – without those encounters there would be no grand slam.
- The bat represents an acquired skill or God-given talent that allows us to knock the ball out of the park.
God has given me a gift of speaking and the desire to be on stage in front of people and not freak out!
- The ball is the successful endeavor that soars over the outfield into the stands.
Without God pitching me the opportunity to speak, there would never be a chance to hit the ball out of the park – to impact people’s lives.
- The fans (bosses, co-workers, friends, family, audiences, children) cheering on the incredible moment that would not have been possible without the pitcher, players, the bat, and the ball.
The speaking engagement is a success and lives are impacted; people respond to the opportunity God set up, God’s gifting in me, and the work He completed through others to help guide and mold me.
I believe we all have grand slam opportunities in life. When those moments happen, are we able to recognize that it would have never been possible on our own? May the answer be yes for us all.
Go hit a grand slam and never forget the significance of the pitcher, players, the bat, the ball and the fans. A grand slam is just not possible without them.
Ps… As I was finishing this blog last evening, Oriole’s player Jonathan Schoop hit a grand slam! No way? Way!