“You’re the best on the team, Benny.” It wasn’t close. Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez, he of “Sandlot” fame, was by far the best player of his rag-tag bunch of baseball-loving neighborhood kids. He went on to a Major League career, while the careers of his friends largely ended after childhood. He was great, a five-tool player.

But Benny’s greatness on the field wasn’t what his friend Scott Smalls remembered most. Benny was great not because of his five-tool baseball status, but for something far more important. He cared about a kid who couldn’t play.

Scott Smalls was no baseball player. He couldn’t throw, hit, or catch. He couldn’t play ball. Everyone knew it, including Benny. But that didn’t stop Benny from doing for Smalls what no one else wanted to do.

Benny treated Smalls as if he was part of the team, regardless of what he could do for the team.

And, for that, Benny was Scotty’s hero.

Proverbs 29:14–“If a king judges the poor with truth, his throne will be established forever.”

How you and I treat Scott Smalls matters to God. No, he can’t field, hit, or throw like the stars on your team. No, he can’t afford the best equipment. Yes, he’s an easy target for ridicule.

You and I might not rule a literal kingdom like the king described in Proverbs 29:14, but the lesson is plain. Those who can’t help the team, who will never help the team…those guys matter and God cares deeply about how they are treated. This is a recurring theme in Scripture.

God promises lasting influence for those who treat Scott Smalls like he’s part of the team. This isn’t a guarantee of a higher batting average or more wins. It’s bigger than that. It’s God’s blessing on your relationships and leadership in the lives of your players, teammates, and coaches.

Make a choice this season to treat Smalls like he’s the best player on the team.

Lord Jesus, this is tough. I’m prone to give special treatment to the best players and to ignore the guys who can’t play. Fill me with your Spirit so I can change. Amen.