"I Got It! I Got It!"

It’s baseball season for our three Hartman grandsons! We moved beyond practices this week to actual games. It has been fun for Mimi and Poppi to throw the lawn chairs into the car and head out to the ballparks in Athens and Williamsville to watch them. Danny, our fifth grader, has been playing for three years now and is the most experienced. He made us proud during his game by making two great catches defensively and laying down a ground ball on the third-base line for a single and an RBI.

Charlie, third grade, has only played one official game and that was last season just before his family went to New Mexico for vacation. He is showing great promise during practices this season and is very eager to build upon last summer’s brief experience. He did a nice job of hitting a strong single during the game this week that resulted in a much-needed RBI for his team.

"Awww! I don't got it!!"
The youngest brother in the trio is Dawson Michael who is just wrapping up his kindergarten year as a home schooler.  He plays on the same team with Charlie. “Daws” is energetic and entertaining on the field, but is still learning the basic skills of hitting, catching, and throwing. He did make contact with the ball during an at-bat the other evening but was thrown out by a good throw to first base.

Dawson is a one-man show during practices! One minute he is ingratiating himself to the coach with repeated compliments like, “Coach! You are the best coach everrrrr!” And the next, he is communicating with his fellow players while shagging fly balls and saying, “I got it! I got it!” This is great because he has been well coached to do so. However, the other evening, this is what was heard, “I got it! I got it! Awww! I don’t got it!!” He cracks everyone up who knows what a character he is!

Dawson’s misfortune reminded me of an incident during an evening of card playing with college friends years ago. We were engaged in a serious game of hearts, as I recall. Monique was my partner across the table and had repeatedly asked me as the game unfolded, “Do you have the stopper?” I answered confidently each time, “I’m telling you, I’ve got the stopper!” It would only take our competitive friend a few moments to prove by his masterful run of the table that I did not have the stopper! I have been eating humble pie for years over that exuberant declaration!

How many times in your life have things not turned out like you would have liked? The Apostle Peter had led a chorus of promises among his disciple friends the night of Jesus’ arrest. The Lord had just predicted, “Tonight all of you will desert me.” To this disturbing announcement, “Peter declares, “Even if everyone else deserts you… I will never deny you! And all the other disciples vowed the same.” (Matthew 26:31-35; NLT).  Peter would live to regret that confident assertion.

What do we learn from this? It is better to be humble and realistic in our attitude while showing dependence upon God. Everyone can fail to live up to expectations at any moment. John Bradford, a 16th century English reformer who was martyred for the faith, popularized this proverb, “There but for the grace of God, go I.” Like Christ’s Disciples, who made promises they could not keep, we are prone to such miscalculations!

Many have misunderstood what the Apostle Paul confidently exclaimed by saying, “I can do everything!” We must not forget the proviso or condition of Paul’s assertion, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13, NLT). As we grow in our faith walk with Christ, we discover that we cannot do everything in our own strength! But as Christ guides us according to what He wills and plans, the promise holds that through Christ, we are given the strength to accomplish great things in His name!

Next time you are tempted to audaciously exclaim, “God, I’ve got this,” remember… it's only through Christ, that we can do all things!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com 

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