I enjoy reading and sharing the stories that you find here at Living Up to My Name. It is great to discover how God is working in the lives of these public figures and connect that to things he is teaching me in my own life. A few times, I have done some “throwback” stories too. Those are fun for me as they often involve players that I grew up watching and cheering for. Sometimes, they are doing some really neat things with their lives after sport, and sometimes, their career continues into the coaching realm. That is the case for the subject of today’s post – Tim Bogar who is a bench coach for the Seattle Mariners. He has served as a minor league manager – 3 times winning various league’s Manager of the Year award. He has also served as a base coach, interim Major League Manager and his current role as bench coach as well as several front office positions. As a player, he appeared on 701 major league games playing all 4 infield positions as well as DH, left field and even 2 appearances as a pitcher.
Bogar played for the New York Mets, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. But it is a line I read in this article from Sharing the Victory Magazine, that caught my attention for this blog post. It says “A major league third-base coaching box is no place for the indecisive.” It continues “he draws on his faith in Christ and finds the strength to bravely face each day, each game and each play.”
In the subsequent interview with Bogar, we can read that his time as a utility player helped him greatly as a coach. He says “I was a utility player, so I spent a lot of time filling in where I was needed and doing whatever it took for my teammates to be ready to play. When I transitioned into coaching, that translated into a natural desire for me to see my players succeed and to do whatever I could to make that happen.” When asked about the stress of his job, he answered “Being the third base coach and in a highly visible position hasn’t been an easy adjustment for me. I study the book of Romans to remind myself that I can’t allow the judgment of others to change the way I make decisions. My faith helps me deal with both the success and failure of those decisions.”
Here are my takeaways from Bogar’s story:
1- No Place to Be Indecisive – The article talks about how as a third base coach, there are times when a decision needs to be made and there is no time for indecision. You are either going to hold the runner at third or send him to try and score. The results of that decision can be strongly tied to the success or failure of the team on any given day. As I thought about it, it reminded me of the moment in Joshua where the time had come to make a decision. Joshua lays it all out as they have settled in the promised land. He calls the assembly together and reminds them of all that God had done to lead them to this place – settled in the land promised to Abraham generations earlier. Then in verses 14 and 15, he issues this challenge “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. 15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua made his choice. He was going to serve God. This is the most important decision that we will make in this life and it is not a place where we can be wishy-washy. When we come to understand who God is and that he wants us to serve Him above all else, it is time to pick a side.
2- Running through the Stop Sign – And sometimes, we make our decisions and it is ignored by others. I know that I have seen it countless times when the third base coach puts up a stop sign and the runner ignores it and tries to score. Sometimes it works out, but often the runner is thrown out at the plate. As we live our lives for Him, we also serve to point others to him. Some will see what we are doing and will stop, others will pay no attention to us and keep on chugging. Those who don’t heed our warnings often meet with their doom. But we cannot allow the decisions of others to affect what we are called to do. We must continue to guide others to the ultimate goal – meeting the true Christ and choosing to live for Him.
3- Sometimes we are wrong – Sometimes third base coaches say stop when their player would have had time to score and sometimes the coach says go and the runner gets thrown out. We make mistakes and our mistakes affect others. But God’s forgiveness is unending and so even when we make a wrong decision, His love and grace extend to that place. God’s grace truly is amazing and it covers a multitude of bad choices and sins that we commit. Let’s learn from our mistakes, and ultimately the best lesson we can learn from any mistake is that God loves us and offers us forgiveness.