I like baseball. A lot! I’m one of those guys that has a countdown until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training each year. This year, there was an extra treat of the World Baseball Classic. That’s where teams representing several different countries square off to see who can win it all. And, spoiler alert, Team USA won the 2017 WBC title!
As the scene unfolded after the final out, one of the outfielders was ecstatic as he ran into the celebratory fray. As he sprinted across the field, he kept pointing to the “USA” on the front of his jersey. This all-star level player who makes millions upon millions wasn’t pointing to the name on the back, or talking about himself in post-game interviews. It was all about the name on the front of the jersey.
Now, this is something the greatest coaches have talked about for years. Google holds many quotes from coaches saying, “The name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back!”.
This all got me thinking about the different names I might have on the back of my jersey – Dad, husband, provider, defender, department director, son, brother, uncle, friend… I know a lot of people with a lot of different ‘names’. We each play several roles in life, and some more than others.
But what about the name on the front of the jersey? Where does my identity really land?
Sure, it could be whatever role I like the most. Or it could simply be “Brad” or “Hutchcraft”. I dig both of those. For some, it might be their job where they find the most meaning. For others, their religion, or even their politics.
Playing for Team USA must have been memorable for these men. But soon, they will be back playing for their regular team. Logos of the Yankees, Rangers, Cubs, Dodgers, will be proudly worn once again. Earlier in life, I changed ‘jerseys’ too many times, playing for someone different each day.
And then…Jesus. He changed everything! That’s the name that I proudly wear now. It’s the name that all my other titles come under. At least that’s the goal. It’s the only name that I know will last. Jesus.
It’s not about a set of rules, or a specific church, or whatever ‘religion’ that might come to mind. And it’s certainly not about a political party! It’s about this relationship that I started many years ago. I was created to have a relationship with God. The Bible says it best – I was “created by Him and for Him”. We all were. But I tried running my life my way instead, and I didn’t do a very good job. Fortunately, God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay my penalty so I could have a chance at real life. Eternal life with the One who created me. I just had to choose Him. So I did, and that has made all the difference.
Those other names? I really like them. I love being a dad, a husband, a friend, and the list goes on. But those things can be challenging at times, and I wouldn’t be very good at them if not for the name on the front of the jersey. For me to get it right, I’m going to stick with the strongest name there is:
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower…”(the Bible)