Baseball isn’t exactly a culture in which words of affirmation are prevalent. Instead, most of what players receive from coaches and teammates is negative. It’s focused on what they do wrong or the things that are easy to mock.

What a shame.

It isn’t until years later that players and coaches realize just how much they appreciate the guys who once wore the same uniform they did. It’s also then when we realize we never really said how we felt about them.

Proverbs 27:5 puts it this way: “Better is an open rebuke than love that is concealed.”

That could be read a couple of ways. You could argue that at least people know how you feel when you rebuke them openly. Come on. Is that all you want to be known for? Speaking your mind in a negative way?

The other way to look at this verse involves seeing the tragedy of love that is concealed. Sure, at least people know how you feel when you call them out. But, do those you care about know how you feel?

When’s the last time you found a way to show some appreciation for the guys on your team? When’s the last time they got anything but correction or mocking from you? When’s the last time you stopped joking around for a bit and mentioned your appreciation in a serious manner?

No, baseball teams aren’t exactly conducive for expressing appreciation. But, one day, it will be over. Will anyone know how you felt about them? Find a way to communicate it today.

Lord Jesus, thanks for placing me on the team you’ve given me. Help me to be an encouragement to the other players and coaches. Fill my heart with genuine love and appreciation for them. Show me how to express it appropriately. Amen.