Spiritual Lessons from Moneyball–Part 1

I’m no fun to take to the movies.  I look at everything from a spiritual point of view which can either be a great asset or a real wet blanket depending on how you look at it.  Worse, I’ll watch the same movie dozens of times to milk every spiritual lesson from it that God wants to teach me.  Lately, I’ve been pondering spiritual lessons from the 2011 movie Moneyball, the story of the 2002 Oakland A’s whose general manager was Billy Beane and whose manager was Art Howe.  Incidentally, the script’s portrayal of a hard-headed Howe (played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman) made Howe reflect upon the hard feelings resulting from the script’s rendition of the clear estrangement between himself and Beane.  There’s a lesson here too about what happens when people don’t work as a team.

Billy Beane: I should have made you a bigger part of the conversation from day one. That way we’d be clear what we’re trying to do here. That was my mistake, Art, and I take responsibility for that.
Art Howe: What are you trying to say?
Billy Beane: I’m saying it doesn’t matter what moves I make if you don’t play the team the way they’re designed to be played.
Art Howe: Billy, you’re out of your depth.
Billy Beane: Why not Hatteberg at first?
Art Howe: Because he can’t play first.
Billy Beane: How do you know?
Art Howe: It’s not my first baseball game. Scott Hatteberg can’t hit, he’s keeping us in the fences.

Billy Beane: Could this be about your contract?
Art Howe: No. This is about you doing your job and me doing mine. Mine’s being left alone to manage this team you assembled for me.
Billy Beane: I didn’t assemble it for you, Art.
Art Howe: No s**t.

This scene from Moneyball ought to speak volumes to every pastor and leader out there in the Church.  God made each leader a part of the conversation from day one by calling the person to leadership.

In our churches, if we aren’t playing the team the way God designed them to be played, we’re standing in the way of the success God wants to bring forth.  We simply cannot be a winning team—in our league or as World Series champions—if we’re constantly second-guessing what God wants to do.

1 Corinthians 12:5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good…11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines…18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be…22 those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.

“I didn’t assemble it for you,” God might say to us.

Are you sitting in church waiting for a place to serve?  Get off the bench and do your job.

Are you a leader who is wearing blinders to God’s design, using your sight and your past experience to make decisions, negating and confounding what God wants to do in your church?  Remember your place is temporary and your vision is limited.  God, whose existence is eternal and whose vision is perfect, assembled this team for His own reasons.

Let’s remember Whose team this really is.  Pastors, leaders, how are you using the team God assembled?

* * *

This series included 3 Lessons from Moneyball


God has arranged

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on February 28, 2014

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