Five-tool players are every coach’s and scout’s dream. Hit for average, hit for power, run, throw, field. Five tools. Few players possess all five. Most good college players are two-to-three tool players. Only the elite guys have all five. Think Ken Griffey, Jr., Barry Bonds, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper…guys like that from the past and present. They come to be the cornerstones for their franchises for years.
Some five-tool guys, however, never make it. Why? In some cases, it’s because they rely too much on those five tools, figuring they can simply show up and play well because of their inherent talent. They quickly find out, though, that there is much more to baseball than merely being good at it. There are pressure situations that require tools of the mind and will. There are inevitable slumps that require tools of emotional buoyancy. There are difficult circumstances which require tools of the heart. Those who rely only on their baseball “tools” don’t always achieve the success they expect.
In a similar way, those who believe that skill or gifting in a sport will be all they need to get them through life learn quickly that such skills are meaningless when life really starts to happen.
Check this out from Proverbs 18:11–“A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his own imagination” (NASB).
Think about that…a person with riches, or baseball tools, believes he has all he needs to make it through whatever he faces. Those things stand around him like a high-walled city, or so he imagines. But, just like money can’t buy happiness or eternal life, neither can having all five baseball tools! Believing otherwise is imagining things that just aren’t true.
What’s the answer? It is given in the previous verse, Proverbs 18:10–“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe” (NASB). One day, when life really happens, when things fall apart (and they will), the five-tool player will need more than baseball skill. On that day, even the unskilled player has a place to turn–the name of the Lord. Only by being in close relationship with Jesus Christ can a person endure and navigate the real-life issues that happen every day. Only by running to the strength found in Him can we be safe for all eternity.
Here’s a prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you that my skills cannot save me or hurt me when life really happens. Thank you that You alone are who and what I need in those times. Please help me to trust You, to run to You, when life goes wrong, when hurt comes, when it all falls apart. Amen.