Monday, February 1, 2021

Learning the Language

By David A. Sargent

    Billy Horton is entering his third year as a minor league hitting coach for the major league baseball team, the San Francisco Giants. Tim Elmore and Billy Boughey of Growing Leaders recently asked Horton to write a blog about connecting with his younger players. Here is an excerpt from his blog:
    In my year of coaching with the Giants, we had a good ballclub and a lot of the players got better. However, there was a big disconnect between myself and the Latin [American] players. The biggest chasm between us was verbal communication. I had taken Spanish class in high school and college, but over the past twenty years I have not used it on a regular basis. I was at a crossroad. I knew I had to lead the way if we were to connect. It became clear I needed to re-learn the language to better coach them.
    I started by learning what I call “Base-ish” – Baseball Spanish. I learned how to communicate our batting practice routine in Spanish and then moved on to body parts that are used in the hitter’s swing mechanics. I asked the players a lot of questions and they were more than happy to help me... If I want to be able to communicate with my whole team, learning their language is very important. I could tell every player noticed the simple effort I put in to learn, not just lead...
    The funny thing is that when I first started down this road, it was for job security. I wanted to make myself more valuable to the organization. What it turned into was a bridge between me and the players. I showed them effort in learning their language, and they appreciated that. They saw I cared about them, and our relationships grew. *
    From the beginning, God has communicated His love toward us:
    He has communicated His love through CREATION. He formed the world to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18), and it is just the right environment to sustain human life! He has shown kindness and love by giving us “rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides us with plenty of food and fills our hearts with joy (Acts 14:17).
    He has communicated His love through His written REVELATION. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways” (Hebrew 1:1 NIV). We have the words of the inspired prophets and apostles in Scripture (1 Corinthians 2:11-13). We can know something of God’s divine nature and His power through His creation (Romans 1:20), but we know of His will for us through His written revelation (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
    He has communicated His love through the INCARNATION. God “put on” human flesh in the person of His Son Jesus and came to live among men. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14; see also Hebrews 2:14-17).
    He has communicated His love through the CRUCIFIXION. Our sin separates us from God and condemns us eternally (Romans 3:23). “But God demonstrates [or “communicates”] His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Because of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, we can be saved from our sins through Him (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
    God will save those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38). His atoning blood will continue to cleanse those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
    Because of the wonderful ways that God has “communicated” with us, we can know that He loves us and desires to save us so that we can spend an eternity with Him.
    Won’t YOU respond to His love through your trusting obedience to His will?
- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:

* “One Secret to Bridging the Gap with Team Members” by Tim Elmore in Elmore’s blog on March 27, 2014, at

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