Struck Out Lately?
Babe Ruth was a legendary hitter, for decades the all-time home run champ. He swatted 714 homers in his career, about one in every twelve at bats. Did you know that he also struck out 1,330 times, nearly twice for every home run he hit? It just goes to show that even the best in the business cannot deliver every time. That is something we would do well to remember in our work for the Lord.
Have you ever “struck out” when asking someone to come to worship with you? If not, you have likely never tried! Do not despair. Just keep swinging; you will find some souls still interested in spiritual things.
Maybe you have “struck out” in an attempt to teach someone the gospel. It may have been at the first study or two, or possibly after months or even years of effort. Does that surprise you? Of course it is disappointing, but the Master Teacher warned us it would be this way. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus said some folks’ hearts are like the soil beside the road: they hear, “then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they may not believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). Neither Jesus nor His apostles reached everyone they taught. Keep sowing.
Perhaps you “struck out” in trying to restore a brother or sister overtaken in a fault, or warning one of potential dangers in the course he was pursuing, or simply trying to encourage one to greater heights of service to God. Sometimes brethren do not respond favorably to admonitions, no matter how sincerely given. Shall we quit? No! “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).
Preachers, have you ever “struck out” with one of your sermons? Let’s face it, not every one is a home run (a big hit). What adds to the frustration is that often there is a great disparity between the amount of work put into a lesson and the visible response to it. Shall we study less or give up preaching? Absolutely not! “Be ready in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2).
Audiences need to remember this, too, Preachers have their good and bad days, just like everyone else. A good preacher is one who consistently has easy-to-understand, Scriptural, useful lessons; not necessarily one who often moves you to tears or entertains.
What we all must remember is that the Lord judges on the basis of efforts, not results. If we work as we should, He will be pleased, and results will come.
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9).