and Sid Bream rounded third base, virtually dragging an incapacitated leg with him, and slid into home to give the Atlanta Braves their first Divisional Championship of my adult life. Skip Carey yelled, “From worst to first!” And, like most of Atlanta, Mrs. Vickie and I celebrated by jumping all over our living room.
That was the beginning of a spectacular run for the Braves. Fourteen straight Division Championships, five National League Pennants, and one World Series Championship, all under the leadership of General Manager Bobby Cox. This past Sunday, after 29 years (four with the Toronto Blue Jays and 25 with
the Braves), the now 69 year old Cox managed his last regular season as a Major League Baseball Manager, sending the Braves into the playoffs yet again.
Along the way, he has managed over 4500 games, winning over 2500 of them, and compiling the fourth highest number of wins of any Major League Manager in history. (It is surprising to discover that guys like Joe Torre and Lou Piniella have a long way to go catch him.) Cox also holds the dubious distinction of being ejected more than any manager in major league history.
What makes all this so intriguing to me is that whenever Bobby Cox gets interviewed, he is usually quick to point out that his role in the matter has been limited. He points out that baseball is a team sport. Accordingly, he gives a lot of credit to his assistant coaches and especially to his players.
Ironically, this past September marked my own 29th year of ministry. I was Licensed to Ministry in 1981 and then Ordained in 1986. I certainly hope that I still have quite a ways to go before that day comes when, out there in the future somewhere, I finally ride off into the sunset (of retirement)
and bid adieu to professional ministry.
In the meantime, I long ago came to realize that no pastor ministers effectively by himself. Ministry is absolutely a team effort. Any pastor with an ounce of sense (and integrity) will admit this. Without the help of others, one cannot be successful. Because of this, I thank God daily for the Staff,
the Deacons, and the members of the wonderful church I am blessed to pastor.
Of course, what is true for managing baseball, and what is
true for pastoring, is also true for most every other profession. We all depend on others. And they depend on us. Not just at work. But also at play. And at school. And at church. And at home. May we never forget the role others play in helping us succeed. And may we do our part to help them succeed as well. This way, we all win.