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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Our Mutual Friend (not about the book) (09/15/11)

TITLE: His Zone Doesn't Change
By Hiram Claudio


The strike zone doesn’t change … just because it’s later in the game.

I’ve been a baseball umpire for over ten years. With averaging about one hundred games a year, I’ve well over one thousand games of experience at all age levels (as young as nine to players in their forty’s and fifty’s).

As a plate umpire, my primary responsibility is clear; it’s to call balls and strikes. And with that, the single measurement of my success will be that I call a consistent strike zone. My commitment to each pitcher is that they will get the same calls the other one does. What is a strike for one team needs to be a strike for the other. Seems simple.

Additionally, I’m not only obligated to provide the same zone for each team but to also provide the same zone throughout the entire game. Just as critical as a strike being the same for both teams is that what is a strike in the second inning is also one in the seventh. When I do that, I’m told I’m being fair, consistent, giving mutual opportunity to both teams.

Other calls I might make from behind the plate are important too. But none is counted on as much as my strike zone being consistent from start to finish.

You know … we can count on the Lord to do the same. When we give our lives to Him, He rescues us not only from the pain of sin but from its inequity as well. He establishes a way of being and life principles in us that we can count on through all of our days. Our lives may change. Our thinking may adjust from season to season. But Jesus is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 – NIV).

We may not always see this as a true ‘blessing’ but we can count on Him to view things the same way no matter how we try and modify them. Truth is truth no matter what the situation or where we are on our life’s timeline. Same goes for sin. For example, it’s just as wrong for a couple in their seventies to live together outside of marriage as it would be for a couple in their twenties. The fact that it’s later in the game doesn’t change the zone. His principles for life don’t get modified with the seasons. What’s required to please Him in the early spring of your life won’t change just because it’s now late winter.

We’re often prone to view morality as circumstantial. But seniority doesn’t play a role in determining godliness. Serving the Lord for a long time doesn’t get you time off for good behavior (so … you can engage in bad behavior?). Sloppy living is not a fringe benefit you get for being morally faithful throughout your life.

Our Lord is faithful and doesn’t waiver in His call of the zone (like I sometimes do). He stays consistent and on target and does so for our benefit. A number of times, as I have improved as an umpire, when I’m walking off the field, I’ve received the best compliment I could get. I’ll have both opposing pitchers tell me that I was consistent from start to finish. And then they will both say to me, “thanks friend.” Fancy that, both pitchers calling the same umpire … their friend. And what prompted their comment, calling me ‘friend,’ was that I was … consistent.

Jesus gives that to us as well. It truly is why each one of us can call Him … friend! Not only is it an amazing thing that our Savior is the same “forever,” but also that He is the same “to all” and “at all times!”

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This article has been read 341 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Wilma Schlegel09/23/11
What a great analogy. What great words of wisdom.
Virgil Youngblood 09/24/11
The love of baseball runs deep in my family and this was "right over the plate." Well done.
Linda Goergen09/25/11
There is “consistent” truth written and woven so well through awesome visuals in this article! Excellent job! I certainly hope this gets exposure beyond the FW challenge! So well done - powerful message!
Mildred Sheldon09/27/11
So true what you have written. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Noel Mitaxa 09/28/11
Clear teaching - by the plateload! I could identify with this, as it recalled my pitching days - before the zone got too small and home plate got too far away!
Excellent application of the truth.
Helen Curtis09/28/11
I just love reading your words! You have such a gift for painting a word-picture and then bringing Jesus into it as an analogy so very clearly. You are gentle in your tone, so even though you're admonishing a little, it doesn't quite feel like it! I'm pretty sure I said to you once before that I'd love to sit and hear you talk, and once again I am so blessed to have 'heard' you through reading this. Thank you 'friend'!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/29/11
I really enjoyed this. I have umped before and can really relate to this. I will admit it gets tempting to make the strike zone bigger especially when it gets cold and dark. But being consistent is so important.