One of the things I love about team sports is that each player has a valuable role to play on their respective teams. However, in the world of sports, sometimes we place more value on the star players. The star players get all of our attention and we celebrate how great they are. Sometimes we even refer to the lesser known players as “no names.” Yet in team sports like baseball and football, the team is only as good as the no names on the team. For example, in baseball you never know when a no name may be placed in a pivotal role to send their team to the championship. This is exactly what happened to Francisco Cabrera in the 1992 National League Championship Series. You’re probably saying Francisco who? Well, you would be right. Cabrera was a relatively unknown backup first baseman/ catcher who hit a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the Atlanta Braves to the 1992 World Series. Cabrera’s single helped the Braves beat my beloved Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh and deciding game of the NLCS by a score of 3-2. What was even more amazing was the fact that Cabrera only had ten at-bats the entire regular season! Despite his relatively insignificant role during the regular season, Cabrera was the main reason the Braves advanced to the 1992 World Series!
As a lifelong Pittsburgh Pirates fan, I can remember Cabrera’s series clinching single like it was yesterday. It was literally heartbreaking to watch. However, the game highlighted the fact that each person plays a valuable role on the team. Before the game, no one would have guessed that a player with only ten at-bats the entire season would play such a pivotal role in the series. Cabrera had many more famous teammates such as future Hall of Famers John Smoltz and Tom Glavine who were extremely valuable to the Braves. Yet it was Cabrera who had the biggest play of the series.
So what does all this mean? I mean why am I writing about a game that was played almost twenty-three years ago? One word. VALUE. Among baseball pundits, Francisco Cabrera was not considered as valuable to his team as some of his more famous teammates. Yet every Pirates and Braves fan will forever remember his name.
As I think about the Francisco Cabrera game, I am reminded of the value that we have in Christ. I think that if we’re honest with ourselves there are many times in life when we feel like a no name. We wonder how God could ever use a person like us. We struggle with self-doubt and discouragement. However, during those times it is so important to remember the value God has placed on you. In fact, there are three points I want to share with you that illustrate the incredible value you have as part of God’s team.
- You have value because of who you are.
First of all, you have value simply because you were created in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” The fact that you were created in the image of God gives you incredible value and worth as a human being. You were not some random accident but rather you were created for a purpose.
- You have value because of what you cost.
If you ever wonder how valuable you are to God, then look at the cross. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Also, 1 Corinthians 6:20 says that you were bought at a price. Speaking of this verse, the great preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “That the blood of Christ was shed to buy our souls from death and hell is a wonder of compassion which fills angels with amazement, and it ought to overwhelm us with adoring love whenever we think of it, glance our eye over the recording pages, or even utter the word redemption.” God valued you enough to send his son to die on the cross for you. Stop and think about that for a second. You were purchased with the precious blood of Christ!
- You have value because of what you can become.
Never forget that when you place your trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you become a new creation. You become part of God’s team and have an important role to contribute to His kingdom! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” God accepts you right where you are but He loves you enough not to leave you there. He wants to turn you into His masterpiece. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Please take a minute to read that last paragraph again. I hope and pray that you know how valuable you are to God. You may think you are a no name but nothing could be further from the truth. God can take you wherever you are and turn you into something beautiful. And that is something worth celebrating about!