Pitchers and Catchers Report this week. That’s music to this baseball fan’s ears. The dead of winter ends with the sounds of Spring Training. In a very real sense, all things are new in Spring Training. Here’s why:
Every team thinks it has a chance. When Spring Training begins, no one has been eliminated, not even on paper. Just ask any player, manager, or general manager from any of the 30 Major League clubs. They all can find some reason to believe they can win in the new year. I love the hope that comes with the opening of Spring Training.
New players get their first shot. For some guys, this is their first full year on the Big League roster. Even if they received a September call-up last year, this is new, this is a first. Imagine the energy and excitement of a rookie in his first full camp with the Major League team.
It only gets warmer from this point on. Beyond having the comfort of warm weather for Spring Training, I believe there’s another, more subtle, reason Major League teams train in Arizona and Florida. Whenever I watch highlights of the Cactus or Grapefruit Leagues, I am immediately transported to a sunny, warm location in my mind. It may be snowing outside while I watch, but I am given the hope that it will get warmer, the ground will thaw, and summer is not far away. Though the temperature may dip occasionally, it only gets warmer after Spring Training–summer is coming!
The Bible lets us know that, in similar fashion, life with Jesus is like the beginning of a new baseball season–everything is new. The deadness of His crucifixion and burial are quickly erased by the reality of His resurrection. The coldness of the grave is overwhelmed by the radiant warmth and light of the empty tomb. Those who were once nothing, dead in their sin, are given a spot on God’s roster by the grace extended at the cross. And, no matter what life may be like at this point in this world, it only gets better from here–eternity with Jesus is coming.
All things are new in Spring Training. More importantly, you are made completely new through surrender to Jesus Christ. “Therefore it anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)