Still, I must admit that there is an inherent weakness in major league baseball – it’s fixed in favor of the wealthy teams. On the fat side of the ledger is the New York Yankees with a payroll of over $200 million. On the lean side are the Houston Astros, with a payroll of $22 million. One Yankee player, Alex Rodriguez, is paid $29 million. That is $7 million more than the entire 25 man roster of the Astros. (Note: Please encourage Pastor Marco. The Astros are his team. He doesn’t know any better. He’s from Texas.) What team has won the most world championships? Far and away, the answer is the New York Yankees. Presently, the odds against the Astros winning the World Series are about 300 to 1. Conclusion: just like life, baseball is unfair.
There is a team which has remarkably beat the financial odds – the Oakland A’s. The A’s who year in year out have among the lowest budgets, have developed a reputation, under the guidance of general manager Billy Beane, for what has been dubbed Moneyball; thus the book and movie. There are ways to win games without spending the money for superstars. For example, a first baseman who hits 30 home runs will probably cost over $10 million per year. However, the A’s present plan is to use two first baseman – a left hander to face right handed pitchers and a right hander to face left handed pitchers. The total salary for these two non-stars is just over $2 million and they are expected to combine for more than 30 home runs.
My point . . . if you find yourself in an unfair position, don’t give up. Keep swinging! It should be obvious that I believe in assisting in helpful ways (not disempowering ways, or ways that foster dependency) those who are disadvantaged. However, if any of us are waiting for the world, our country or our city to become completely fair, we will be disappointed. Regardless of what looks like promising policies, legislation and programs, a level playing field has never been achieved in history, that much less in a complex society. It is essential that we tell ourselves and the young the truth: the human race begins with different starting lines. However, wise action and hard work will further almost anyone’s position.
If you are over 35, the world our kids and grandkids are growing up in is a harder place to succeed than the one we’ve known. It seems to me that we are largely leaving them to figure out on their own how to play the game. To be encouraged to work hard, they need our encouragement. To act wisely, they need our coaching.
For the follower of Jesus, in what matters most, there is no disadvantage.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)
This isn’t positive thinking . . . this is God’s reality. “Spiritual blessings” are the deep stuff of God given generously to us. My testimony, more important the testimony of Scripture, is that we only discover some of the sweetest of these when we are disadvantaged physically, relationally, financially and so on.
But, it is possible that we may not discover and appropriate these blessings at all. First, if we view ourselves as “winning” as the world defines winning, we may not hunger for the blessings our Loving Father has in mind. Second, if we are experiencing difficulty and we focus on unfairness, such focus negates most possibility of discovering the blessing God has in store. For both life positions, choosing to fix our eyes on Christ and by His grace gathering the will to trust Him, is the road to every spiritual blessing.
God’s faithfulness trumps unfairness every time.