Jun 26 2023

The Umpire

Pastor Dave Koppel

A couple of Friday nights ago, I watched a ball game at Dell Diamond. I always enjoy coming out to see the Round Rock Express. This particular night, I saw something that I’d never seen before. It was late in the game, and the picture through a fastball. The umpire called it a strike. The batter’s team contested the call, and they showed it on the big screen, and sure enough, the umpire got the call wrong. It fascinated me that now, with technology, there really wasn’t the need for an umpire… imagine that!

But that’s not the main thing that surprised me. On the very next pitch, another fastball, the batter got a piece of the ball, but just a tiny piece of it. The ball glanced off the bat straight into the umpire’s face mask. It threw the umpire back several feet and knocked him flat on his back while the face mask flew off his head in a different direction altogether.

That umpire was down! The other umpires ran to his aid and cared for him. After what seemed like an eternity, which was probably 10 or 15 minutes, they walked him off the field. A few minutes later, the game restarted without the umpire who had gotten hit. Another one took his place.

I mention this not so much because the umpire got hit but because the others ran to help him immediately. They took care of him and helped him off the field to get the medical attention he needed. They were there for him.

You never know what will hit you in life, whether it be a baseball to the head or something else, but you know that you won’t be going it alone. Jesus put it this way, “I am with you always, unto the end of the age.”

Jesus will always be with us through thick and thin, through the easy and hard days. In another place, He said, “I will not leave you orphaned.” You see, Jesus has promised to be with us through it all.

But He has not only given us Himself. He’s given us each other. Just as that umpire had others who helped him, ministered to him, and helped him off the field, you and I have each other.

That’s the beauty of small groups. That’s the beauty of friends. It reminds me of the story of the paralyzed man’s friends, who tried so hard to bring him to Jesus, but they couldn’t make it through the crowds. So, they climbed on the house’s roof, cut a hole, and lowered the man, hoping Jesus would heal him. And Jesus did just that.

I wonder if that story would have happened if it weren’t for that man’s friends. We don’t know their names, we don’t know who they are at all, but we know that they were friends. What a great small group they were.

Let’s trust in God, and let’s be a friend, just like that umpire’s friends and just like that paralyzed man’s friends. We will count on God, we will count on each other, and we will let others count on us.

In His grip,