II Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

II Timothy 4:5-7 “But watch thou in all things, endure affliction, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of the ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

Colossians 3:23-24 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

The longest professional baseball game began on Easter Eve, April 18, 1981, and didn’t finish until June 23 of that same year. It lasted 33 innings and over 8 hours, with 32 innings being played throughout a long April night until the league president was reached by telephone at around 4 am and made the official call to postpone the game until the next scheduled meeting between the two teams. The game pitted the Pawtucket Red Sox against the Rochester Red Wings at the Triple-A level.

During the 32nd inning, a Rochester player hit a ball to right field that could have scored a runner from second base and ended the game. As the runner sped around the base path, baseball journalist Dan Barry described the situation and the specifics of the play by right-fielder Sam Bowen in the following way:

“I asked Bowen, did you ever think about not giving it your best throw [to end the game], maybe throwing it over the backstop? And Bowen really got angry with me. He said, ‘this is what I do. I am not going to do anything less than my best.’ Even though this guy is never going to make it back to the major leagues and he knows it, he is not going to let this guy score.”

Pawtucket General Manager Mike Tamburro provided his thoughts as follows:

“Sammy takes it on two hops and makes a throw, a tremendous throw, nails the runner at the plate … You make that play in the top of the ninth, it’s a great play. You make that play in the top of the 32nd, it’s a historic play. To me, it spoke to the true grit of a professional baseball player that, in the top of the 32nd inning at 4 o’clock in the morning – that he would throw out a guy at home plate in those circumstances.”

Sam Bowen’s Red Sox went on to win the game in the following inning (two months later), and it was his play in the previous inning, in spite of the extraordinary challenges of such a game, that gave them the opportunity for victory. His true grit, in spite of fatigue and temptations of resignation, made all the difference.

As Christians in 21st century America, will live in extraordinary circumstances. Sometimes the myriad of challenges can cause us to struggle with resignation and fatigue. But, God needs us to serve with excellence, dedication, and resilience. May we all commit to accepting nothing less than our best. Let our testimony be of true grit. And when challenged about our dedication to excellence for the Lord, may we be able to say – “this is what I do!” – as we seek to maintain an opportunity for wide-spread victory for Him in our land.

PLEASE PRAY THAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WOULD FACE THE CHALLENGES AROUND US WITH EXCELLENCE AND HEARTY CHRIST-CENTERED SERVICE. God is looking for true grit from us always. After all, a massive victory for Him may be just around the corner or in the next inning.

ADMIN: The quotes above are from the following NPR interview about the longest game: https://www.npr.org/2022/08/30/1120126846/the-story-behind-the-longest-baseball-game-ever