You could be a potential “Hall-of-Famer,” a perennial “All-Star,” a “Gold Glove” fielder, a .320 hitter and still get “Booed” if you strike out in the bottom of the ninth, with the bases loaded. You could have had three hits that game, with three RBIs, and four runs scored, but the morning sports headlines would read, “Hobbs strikes out to end the game.” And that’s what the world will remember, until Hobbs makes good his “next at-bat.”
Baseball, as the quintessential metaphor for mortal inconsistency, has myriad scenarios into which the would-be “master-of- the bat” (Everyman) might slump forlorn into the doldrums, either temporarily or exhaustively, that would have his patronizing constituency express little or no patience, and summarily ask, “what have you done for me lately?”
As a Hollywood star, who refuses to expand his “Vortexual” repertoire, may prefer instead to bask in “its” own lime-light until the fading glory of past accomplishments incurs the consequences of a lack-luster, inconsistent, and ill-fated career, so too does a batter’s former heroics stand little chance of appeasing the frenzied adoration and satisfaction of fans lusting for the nebulous content of victory’s successes.
Life itself is an ongoing process (as is the expansion of the Universe). In order to live, you must progress — you must continue to bear fruit. The Bible has many stories depicting the fateful consequences for those who fail to rise above the “Status Quo.” Jesus illustrated for his apostles how the unfruitful tree dried and shriveled up when it failed to live up to its purpose; the unfruitful servant’s dire consequence that proceeded from his slothful and complacent enterprise; as well as the “rich man’s” quick demise after his intent to expand his barns and not his “horizon.”
Progress is consistent life-enhancement. To worship Life is to demonstrate “It” to the fullest. A full life is one’s highest conception of it at the present moment. But, as one expects (mentally and physically) to augment his present understanding, his experience expands to an even greater fruition.
Death is also an ongoing process, with Hell being not only the final destination but also the pathway to itself. Grief, agony, and frustration are the earmarks of unfulfilling and unsatisfying experiences, brought about by mortal deception and unsubstantiated fear of failure. Fear restricts innocent and unbridled confidence in unlimited capacity, which is inherent in worthwhile motive of desire. Any object of a “right motive” has no choice but to come to full fruition. It needs only to be nurtured by the understanding faith that good and its completeness have already been established by the Source of all good.
Wasn’t Jesus saying, in effect, that consistency is the highest praise! If we are not consistent in working good, then we in fact are sometimes working iniquity. If complacent in that sporadic state of being, we are not moving out of it into a more developed state.
In baseball, marked consistency is batting .300 or more. In any other area of life, that average wouldn’t be considered very productive, especially by Jesus’ standards. (I guess it’s going to take a higher sense of expectancy to raise the modern “batsman” to an elevated level of performance.) But even before that happens, it is evident that the best of that human endeavor is not satisfied with mediocrity and usually finds a way to vindicate his talent on one or more of his subsequent attempts. “A new day brings new opportunity to advance hope to even greater expectancy.”
When it is recognized that the Sun, Moon, and Stars do not brighten the days and nights by a brilliance of their own, their glory will be better appreciated by one and all for the magnificence it displays as an effortless reflection of the Source of “Never-ending-Light.” Then we can more assuredly hope for that conviction that we will always be as good as “our next at-bat.”