The Joey Chronicles – Hebrews / “Don’t Give Up”
When Pastor John was growing up he had an
imaginary friend named Joey.
These are growing up stories told from Joey's point of view!
Joey trotted off of the pitcher’s mound after striking out twelve batters after six innings. He was hot and sweaty in the summer sunshine but he didn’t notice as his coach and teammates slapped him on the back and said “Way to go, Joey!”
The evening breezes were starting to pick up and he looked up in the bleachers where his mom and sister sat smiling.
There was nothing like winning an evening game against Alpenrose Dairy, especially when you were wearing your Laura Scudder’s uniform and a new mitt that you were breaking in for the first time.
Joey went up to Frankie Wirtz, his catcher, and said “Good game, Frankie!”
“You too, Joey! All those hours playing catch in my basement paid off, didn’t they?”
“When we weren’t looking at your Dad’s war souvenirs!”
They headed out to the parking lot with their cleats clacking on the concrete and piled into the waiting cars that would take them to Winchell’s donuts. Coach always liked to buy donuts for the team after a win like tonight’s and Joey was looking forward to a maple bar and grape soda with his team.
Joey didn’t just happen to play baseball – his Dad had taken him to his first major league game and played catch with him in the back yard. He remembered the square net and the garage wall that he had thrown against for hours, and all the stories that he had read about baseball players.
Babe Ruth. Roger Maris. Mickey Mantle. Ted Williams. Joe DiMaggio. His Coach. His Dad. All of these men had loved baseball and had set an example for Joey that he could read and learn about so that he could play better.
It hadn’t been easy for all of these men. Babe Ruth struck out as much as he hit home runs but he kept believing that he could do better. Willie Mays was a black man playing a white man’s game – it was hard but he kept at it. Joey knew that if Willie Mays could get through the hard times, he could too.
In the book of Hebrews chapter 11 there is a whole list of heroes. Not baseball heroes, but men and women who believed God and followed Him in the good times and in the hard times. They weren’t perfect but they loved God and God knew it and loved them back.
Hebrews chapter 12 says that all of these heroes – Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Jacob, Gideon, David – their stories are in the Bible to encourage boys and girls and Dads and Moms to follow Jesus with all their hearts and to treat life like a race where you keep running better and faster because of Jesus until you get to the finish line and go to heaven to be with Jesus forever.
King David didn’t strike out twelve batters in a game, but it only took one pitch for him to kill Goliath the giant because he trusted God when nobody else did.
“What an arm!” thought Joey.
Just as baseball stories and heroes made Joey a better ball player, Bible stories and heroes helped Joey to love and follow Jesus more.
Even when baseball season was over!