You may have heard the name Scooter Gennett this week, but unless you are a baseball fan (fan is short for fanatic, you know) you probably had never heard of him before Tuesday. He is a 27 year old former Milwaukee Brewer who now plays for the reds. His time with Milwaukee was nothing special, really. In fact if you look him up you'll see that he ended up on the disabled list for cutting his hand in the shower in 2015. Sounds pretty human to me.
When I happened to be watch the Reds play the Cardinals on Tuesday night, I didn't know I would be watching history. I was expecting, to be honest, another typical game.
Scooter came to the field on Tuesday night not expecting to play. He was in a slump. In fact, he was 0 hits of 19 at bat. But Scott Schebler, who usually plays in the outfield had made a diving catch a few games before and hurt his shoulder, and he was supposed to be back in the game. But practice got rained out and he couldn't warm up and show that he was ready to play, so they put Scooter in. So he showed up and played ball just like he was supposed to.
By the time the game was over, Scooter Gennett, who most people had never heard of, had a career high of 10 RBIs in one game and became the first Cincinnati Red to hit 4 home runs in a single game. In fact, he is one of only 17 people in the history of professional baseball to 4 homers in a game (And just so you have some perspective, that's a history of 148 years (professional baseball began, ironically Cincinnati in 1869).
One other interesting piece of information is that Scooter is a Christian. So each time he hit one of those homers I said, "Wow, God loves Scooter Gennett!" But you and I both know that God loves all the players, that there are Christians on both teams, and that He very well may be staying out of sports completely, other than answering the prayers of players who ask Him to help them do their best.
So what is the lesson in this for you and me? I believe there are two.
One is that you just gotta keep showing up. You never know when your slump might be over and this might be the day you've been waiting for. I can guarantee you that I will never break any sports records, but maybe today is the day that I say something to someone who leads them to Christ. Or maybe today, you might have a thought that revolutionizes the way you do things at work and changes the lives of people forever. Possibly, this is the day that you might meet a future spouse, find out your pregnant with your first child, or hear news that the cancer your favorite aunt feared would lead to her death is completely gone. Every day when we wake up we don't know what we're gonna get, like Forrest taught us years ago.
Second, is that God loved Scooter Gennett just as much when he was 0 for 19 as he did when he hit four home runs in a single game. I've always understood that there is no way that we can do anything that will make God love us less than He does right now, but it took me years to realize that nothing I do will ever make Him love me more than he already does.
I'm pretty sure you haven't heard this but song but it has been one of my favorites since childhood and it certainly sums up what I'm trying to say. You'll recognize quickly that it is a song about baseball but it is an amazing metaphor about God. And many times a year I have to remind myself that "He loves me, no matter how I play..."