Anytime a player is hit by a baseball, it’s serious. It’s made substantially worse when it is a direct shot to the head, traveling at a blistering 112 mph, and during a simulated game (practice game). Yankees’ pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, was on the scary end of the baseball in this situation. This blazing line-drive struck him in the right temple and dropped him to the ground, where he laid motionless for about 10 minutes (Watch It Here).
This already horrifying situation became extra tragic because it was done accidentally by one of his own teammates, Giancarlo Stanton. Thankfully, Tanaka was able to walk off the field and was later diagnosed with a minor concussion at a local hospital.
As teammates, the last thing you want to do is hurt a co-player. This should be true in all situations where a team exists. Unfortunately, selfishness and competitiveness can cloud our judgment – even in the church.
Jesus warned, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1). Throughout the chapter, He offered similar warnings where people were practicing fake righteousness simply “to be honored by men” or “seen by men” (6:1, 2, 5, 16).
Slowly over time, members of the Lord’s church have competed as individuals and as congregations. This simply should not be the case. Some reminders are in order.
First, the Lord’s church isn’t a competition, and social media isn’t the scoreboard. Before we post, let’s ask ourselves if it is just to promote self or to promote God. If the real goal of our work as Christians is self-promotion, that will be our reward in full (Matthew 6:1, 2, 5, 16).
Second, great success by one member is great success for the entire church. If watching another’s achievements produces anything but joy in us, we need to check our motives. Jealously has no place here.
Third, pulling members from one congregation to your congregation is not true growth. In fact, for one congregation, if not both, it’s damaging.
Brethren, we’re on the same team! Let’s act like it. Let’s stop being jealous of other’s successes. Let’s build up other congregations, not just our own. Let’s work together as a team to promote the Lord. After all, He’s the true hero here, and the only one truly deserving of praise (Galatians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 10:17-18).