You may not have liked Tony La Russa’s management style. He had a signature way of pulling pitchers and moving guys in and out. At times it was frustrating that he didn’t let a guy just finish out an inning. Yet, his style brought the Cardinals two World Series wins. This hadn’t happened from a Cardinals’ Manager in over fifty years. La Russa loved the dynamic of pinch-hitting and using relievers. He also said it was one of the reasons he loved the National League because there is more strategy allowed with the pitcher hitting. La Russa was known for his unique pitching moves and his somber after game talks. Once when I was watching a game, Mindy asked, “Is he mad?” I said, “Nope, that is just how he is.” La Russa was unique, yet Cardinals’ fans and so many others will not forget those recent World Series wins.
When Mike Matheny joined the club as manager many were shocked that the Cardinals chose someone without managerial experience. I heard many doubts, and even after a successful last season, some people still commented, “Well, he inherited La Russa’s team.” This year we will find out if this noise has quieted with the use of so many rookie pitchers and some other key moves. (Not to mention we are number one in the Major Leagues.) It is like Matheny picked up right where La Russa left off with unique pitching moves and a somber manner after game talks. I guess when you see a manager perform successfully you learn to accept the quirks he exhibits.
Like baseball, sometimes the moves can be so questionable. There are times we might look up and ask, “God, are you really making a pitching change now? Why would you do that?” As we begin sharing the message of Jesus, we find people we are attached to and feel like we should be the person who is able to watch them come to faith. The honest truth is that God’s plan is not revealed to us. Yet, this is challenging. It can be one of the final things to personally pull us out of the game. We can wrestle with the idea that if we don’t get to see that person come to faith, then is our sharing of the Gospel even working? This is one of the ways that could persuade us to go back to square one and not share our faith with others.
So the final point of this series becomes important, because if we don’t trust in God to do the work, we lose the power of our message. The message of Jesus is based on the fact that He came to rescue and save us because we couldn’t do it. He knows the lives of every individual we talk to, and without His expertise, not to mention His hand in the saving, no person would be rescued. So we find our pitch, learn the game, hit the ball, and then trust that our manager will use our faithful work, which is from the Holy Spirit, to change the lives of people. That’s Red Bird Evangelism!