Sometimes coaches are a broken record. I know I am. I tell my sons and my players the same things over and over. There’s a reason for that: they don’t seem to get it sometimes. Beyond that, there’s another–better–reason: they just need to have it all reinforced over and over again. That’s how we learn. Hearing something once usually isn’t enough. We need to be reminded, to be challenged with it all over again, to have it constantly in our faces.

Just like I keep telling my players to “come get the ball!”, God seems to keep repeating certain themes in the book of Proverbs.

One of them is in Proverbs 19:17–“He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed.”

It’s easy to dismiss those who have nothing. They are nameless and faceless to us, if we allow them to be. But they are not nameless and faceless to Almighty God. He knows them, sees them, understands them, cares for them, sent his Son for them, and will settle accounts with everyone who mistreats them.

When I read the verses in Proverbs that center on this theme of looking after and being gracious toward the “poor,” and when I consider their baseball application, I always come back to the same thought. The “poor” on your team and mine. They might be poor in a monetary sense, a physical sense, or a skill sense.

Here are a few ideas about how we can “lend” to them, as the Scripture instructs.

Consider going to your coach (if you’re a player) or going to a few key players (if you’re a coach) and covering the season’s expenses for a player whose family will struggle to afford it. Let’s face it, baseball isn’t cheap. Equipment, uniforms, fees, etc. It all adds up. If you’re blessed with the resources to cover all that, maybe there’s a way you can organize an effort to help those who aren’t so blessed. Some guys stop playing because it gets too expensive. Let’s change that as best we can.

Schedule time (speaking to coaches, here) for your team to intentionally speak well of each other. When you do, require them to focus on character, not on talent. It will be uncomfortable, yes. But, your guys will be forced to consider the value of each player as a person and not just as an asset on the field.

Spend a little extra time with the guy who’s struggling to grasp a certain concept. If you’re his teammate, make him your practice partner, stay after and throw some extra BP to him, have him over to watch a ball game and talk about it. If you’re a coach, what if you kept this guy on your team, didn’t force him to the back of the line regarding your attention, and got creative in finding ways he can succeed?

It seems that doing things like this for the “poor” on our teams is a way to lend to the Lord. As He promised, he will repay for these good deeds. From what I’ve learned in life, His repayment is far beyond the things money can buy.

Lord Jesus, remind me of this verse. Keep it in the front of my mind when I’m tempted to dismiss someone because of their financial or talent status. Thank you for becoming poor for me, so that I can become rich in you. Amen.