It’s one of the little advantages that home teams have–they get to prepare the field to suit their strengths and to offset those of their opponents.

A team with great speed, but not much hitting ability, might leave the infield grass high in order to slow the ball down and give them more time to get to first base.

An opponent with lots of base stealers might find the runway between first and second a little “damp,” an effort by the home team to slow them down.

None of this will be completely obvious; it’s a stealth move to gain an advantage.

Proverbs 23:10-11–“Do not move the ancient boundary, or go into the fields of the fatherless; for their Redeemer is strong; he will plead their case against you.”

Property lines in ancient times weren’t recorded down at the county courthouse; they were marked with large stones. Neighbors would often be tempted to inch those boundaries one way or the other in their favor over the years, thus stealing land from the owner next to them.

God knew this. He knew there was little chance of them being caught doing it. So, he inspired the writer of this Proverb to include a prohibition against it.

It’s cheating, and God would have none of it.

Cheating, and all its subtle forms, is offensive to God and wrong to each other, not just in baseball. Taking advantage of someone in an inferior or oblivious position, whether that means talking about them in a derogatory way (thus cheating them out of their reputation) or perhaps doing or saying something to sabotage their hard work (thus cheating them out of what they’ve earned), is a huge deal to God. It’s way beyond letting the grass get a little taller.

Being wise and shrewd is commendable, but doing anything to get to the top isn’t.

We’re all tempted to cheat our way forward by taking advantage of someone else or by cutting corners.

Here are three mindsets to help us avoid that.

Gratefulness: I have far more than I deserve. In fact, when I look at the cross of Jesus Christ, I realize exactly what I deserve, and I’m eternally grateful for his grace (not giving me what I deserve) and mercy (giving me what I don’t deserve).

Contentment: I have exactly what God wants me to have. Whether it be talent, recognition, money, or status, wherever I am is right where God wants me to be right now. That doesn’t mean I stop working hard to move forward; it just means that I trust that right now God knows what he’s doing, even if I don’t advance.

Humility: I cannot take credit for what I have. I had no control over when, where, or to whom I was born. I have no control over the natural talent I possess. Nor can I take credit for the grace offered to me by Jesus. Sure, I can use those thing and work on them after I’ve received them, but they are free gifts, not things I’ve earned. So, I simply praise God for what he has given to me, both naturally and spiritually.

Lord Jesus, show me how I’ve cheated people. Give me the chance to make it right. Teach me to be grateful, content, and humble. Thank you for your cross. Amen.