Missing signs is an unforgivable offense in the minds of most coaches. It’s simple: pay attention, then do what the coach just signaled for you to do.

In fairness, some coaches devise signs that would require an algorithm to decipher. Three taps to the wrist, followed by a swipe down the opposite arm, then look for the indicator (which changes every third inning), but if I touch my nose, everything is off if the count is in the pitcher’s favor.

Most of the time, however, missed signs are the fault of the player. Even after team meetings, reminders before games, and use of the simplest system the coach can think of, some players just aren’t paying attention.

And missed signs lead to disaster, individually and collectively.

Proverbs 19:16 speaks to this in life—“He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, but he who is careless of his ways will die.”

On the field, in other words, he who knows and follows the signs won’t face the wrath of the coach between innings and after the game, but whoever doesn’t care enough to pay attention and therefore misses the signs, will die on the bases and during that postgame speech.

In a far more important “game,” that of life, this verse should bring us to a full stop. There’s something in each of us who knows there’s something beyond us. We all know there’s something immaterial, something that defines who we really are—our souls. Even the most ardent atheist knows there’s something beyond the merely physical (or else why would anything truly matter?).

It is the soul that is of God’s greatest concern. It is to the soul that he has directed his “signs” and “signals.” It is to the soul that he speaks, calling us to pay attention, that we might keep our souls, as the verse says.

Unlike the too-clever coach, God doesn’t disguise his signals. His word, his commandment, is clear. The way to keep one’s soul is through faith—faith in the Son of God, who, as the Apostle Paul said, “loved me and gave himself for me.”

But like that coach, God has a standard. Yes, he is loving and gracious, but he is also holy and just. In his holiness, he will punish sin. In his love, he forgives all who come to him through Jesus.

Missing a steal sign is one thing, but missing Jesus is an eternal thing. He loves you, lived for you, died for you, was raised for you. Don’t miss him. Trust him today.

Lord Jesus, I surrender. Everything I am, I give it to you. Amen.