Movie Parables: Major League
“What are you going to do when your career ends?”
I’m thinking about Jake Taylor, a baseball catcher playing for the Cleveland Indians in the 1989 film Major League. There was a time when he was one of the best in the game until his knees were shot-out. As the baseball seasons wore on, he earned the league minimum in a team cursed with a 34 year losing streak. Caught in an upscale party one evening, the guests were intrigued with Jake being a professional baseball player and all. Soon, pointed questions were directed at him in regard to his pay scale and performance. It was obvious to everyone that he was down on his luck—another washed up player in the making. Sensing that Jake was nearing the end of his once illustrious career, the dreaded question was put forward by an irritating party host, “What are you going to do when your career ends? I mean you can't play baseball forever, can you?” Jake responds to the heartless host in an aloof manner. He flashes a grin and replies, “Somethin’ll come up.”
I turned fifty a couple of years back. After five decades I am sensing a little bit of what Jake is going through. The hard questions regarding my career and future begin to surface as I take inventory of my life. By the 28th of December, my wife and I will have been married for 27 years. The nest is slowly emptying and we are beginning to realize what it means to have only each other. Our journey together has had its ups and downs, spiced with hard turns and pleasant surprises. There were instances when we found ourselves on the verge of throwing in the towel. And moments when we decided to hunker down like desert dwellers in a sandstorm and brave life’s difficulties together. We know what it’s like to be driven to our knees before our Maker in much prayer. Thank God, our knees are not shot-out. Through it all, the Lord has led us to unravel our gifts and talents in significant times of ministry among our people living abroad and those born stateside.
I believe it was Moses who once wrote in the Psalms that we live for seventy years or so—and with a little luck we just might make it to eighty. In fact, he asks the pointed question and gives us its obvious answer, “And what do we have to show for it? Trouble” (Ps 90:10). You can sugarcoat life all you want but when all is said and done the span of our lives will still be littered with toil and trouble. Just when you thought you were out of the woods and in the clear, you are suddenly swamped with more of the same.
This has been a year of extremes for most of us. Uncertainty has plagued the workplace—no job is secure and no business is foolproof. The stock market is in dismal shape. Our dollar has taken a deep dive while the price of oil skyrocketed. The government and the country in general continue to operate and live beyond their means. The rumor of a recession that is running rampant has become a reality. People feel it in their pockets and at the fuel pumps. The construction industry has hit rock bottom across the nation. The lucrative projects that lured big time investors have been mothballed indefinitely. The housing market has gone bust as massive foreclosures and fire sales prompt a buyers’ market—but no one’s buying. Car dealerships are giving away vehicles below sticker price and retail stores are slashing the cost of their goods. Clever ad campaigns inundate the consumer. Cash for clunkers. No down payment or no payments and interest for twelve months. Bad credit, no credit, first time buyers, bankruptcy, foreclosure, it’s all no problem. Please call us today! A multitude of unemployed workers suffer the loss of medical coverage and much needed benefits. Even illegal immigrants are self-deporting and heading back south due to a sorry lack of work. The slow economy has caused families to max out their credit cards, drain their bank accounts, and dip into the contingency or college fund to make their monthly payments. I can go on. You probably can as well.
Someone once said, extreme times call for extreme measures. In our current situation, extreme times call for an extreme God—a God who is willing to go the distance, a God who will go to the extremes with his people to make his presence felt in our lives. The telltale crisis may have come home to roost, but God’s infinite and intimate reach will grip our lives in gracious ways.
Even if the predictions for the economic downturn point to bottoming out, it still appears to be depressingly grim. The dreaded question remains, “What are you going to do when the year ends? You can’t change the fearful forecast that threatens to loom indefinitely, can you?” I don’t have all the answers, nobody does. No one has the corner on the crystal ball.
The Spirit of God is our pillar of cloud that dwells within us, surrounds us, and leads us. And it only lifts up just enough so we can see what is immediately before us. I can’t see anything past today’s troubles. Jesus did say, “Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Mt 6:34). As usual, I haven’t a clue as to what our Lord is up to in our lives. It’s way beyond me. My wife and I are still utterly dependent upon God for our family’s future as we press ahead in faith with His kingdom in our sights. People who know God don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. We can’t pull it off by ourselves, but with Him at the helm the possibilities are endless. Rest assured, “somethin’ll come up!” “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face” (1 Cor 13:12). With that thought in mind, may you treasure your time on earth though it be bumpy or smooth sailing. We need not worry about tomorrow. Keep seeking God’s kingdom and his righteousness and all our everyday human concerns will be met (Mt 6:33). We are loved and blessed by an extreme God who will provide for all our needs in all seasons.
Major League (Mirage and Morgan Creek Productions, 1989) written and directed by David S. Ward.
© 2009, Gicky Soriano. All rights reserved.
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