If you have not heard how amazing game six of the 2011 World Series between the Cardinals and Rangers was, you have simply not been listening. It has already been declared one of the greatest, if not the greatest, World Series game in history. What made it so amazing?
In the 11 inning game, the Rangers jumped into the lead five times and five times the Cardinals battled back to tie the game, often with two outs. Twice the Cardinals were one strike away from losing the game and having the Rangers take the series title and both times they kept the game going with base hits. To top it all off, the Cardinals won the game with a home run by the same player who hit a triple in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game at that point. It was a masterful demonstration of a commitment to endure and a passion to get the job done.
The qualities demonstrated in this game brought to mind how they parallel our call as believers. We are called to have a commitment to endure and to pursue our kingdom assignments with passion.
Though there are many verses in the Bible which specifically mention the word endure (or endurance) the verse which came to mind was Proverbs 24:16 — For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again. The verse has at least a couple of implications. First, even a righteous person will fall, and fall repeatedly. This is an implication which does not take any persuasion since we all know it from experience. Second, one mark of a righteous person is the endurance to move forward after repeated setbacks. The Cardinals showed their commitment to endure as they repeatedly fell behind but responded by moving forward to tie, and finally win, the game. How much more should the believer in Jesus show a commitment to endure with the power of the Holy Spirit and when the the stakes are so much higher. For, after all, a World Series game is still a game.
Passion is a little more difficult to describe. In the context of sports, like the World Series game, it is sometimes called one of the “intangibles.” It is an inner compulsion which pushes and drives the outer actions. The verse which came to mind was Matthew 5:6 — Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. The compulsion for believers, as strong as the need to eat and drink to survive, is a passion for righteousness. This is not the righteousness of Christ imputed to us by which we are justified but it is doing what is right. To say it another way, it is holy living. It was passion which drove the Cardinals to do what they were able to do in game six of the World Series. It is passion, grace-generated and Spirit-empowered, which drives us to do what the Lord calls us to do.
Need spiritual endurance? Need spiritual passion? Consider the World Series.