God has a special place in his heart for the “have-nots.” From the Old Testament to the New, he has strong words for those who disregard or mistreat those whose lot in life is much less than desirable. Specifically, the Scripture speaks of those whose financial means fail to meet their financial needs. Some, through no merit of their own, find themselves born into families with stable finances and steady jobs. Others, by no fault of their own, are brought into the world at a financial disadvantage.

Proverbs 17:5 makes very clear God’s stance on the treatment of the have-nots by the haves. “He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker.”

Of course, mocking is simply making fun of someone, perhaps to his face, perhaps (most often?) not.

The word that stands out most in this proverb is “reproach.” It means “to taunt.” Think of that for a second. Those who make fun of the poor are spitting in the face of God himself.

In the baseball world, the difference between the haves and have-nots is often striking and immediately obvious. Some players excel while other struggle. Some were born with athletic gifts perfectly suited for baseball, while others might never develop them.

Whether you are a coach or a teammate, how will you treat the guys who can’t play?

Here are three ways to avoid mocking the poor in the game, so as to avoid spitting in God’s face.

  1. Refuse to talk down to them because of their lack of skill. Just because they struggle in the game doesn’t mean they’re stupid. It’s your responsibility to find out what they do/do not understand and speak to them respectfully on that level.
  1. Refuse to talk mockingly of them in front of other players and coaches. Sure, their bloopers make for great stories. God is listening. Keep that in mind.
  1. Refuse to talk yourself out of loving them and working with them. It’s easy to simply dismiss guys who can’t play, even if they remain on the team. Just ignore them, stop coaching them, and you’ll never “waste” anymore time on them. But, what if, so long as they’re on your team, God would have you “waste” all kinds of time loving and working with guys who can’t do anything for you on the field?

This isn’t easy, and we all struggle with it. Commit it to prayer and ask the Lord to help you treat the “poor” in the game just like he’s treated you and me, the “poor” in righteousness that we are. He’s loved us when we could do nothing for him. Let’s consider that in every interaction with the guys who can’t play the game well.

Lord Jesus, lead me, convict me, and challenge me in this. Thank you for loving me, even though I was born sinful and unlovable. Remind me to extend that grace and love to the guys who can’t play.