Can I Get A Witness

Growing up, my brothers and I played a lot
of sports. We covered just about the entire
sports gambit, in fact, at least what was
available back then. Between the three of us,
we played football, basketball, baseball,
soccer, ran track, and wrestled. It was a lot of
fun (well, except for all that practicing stuff),
and it was good for us to participate in
physical activities outside of school hours. It
still is good for young folks to do this.
I was fortunate to be athletic enough to get
a good amount playing time in the sports I
played (EXC: basketball. I have never been
good at basketball). When this happens over
time (that is, when you spend time on the
field, court, mat, etc.), you tend to get used to
it. Past experience fosters a future
expectation that this state of affairs will
continue. This belief is true even when going
up a skill or age or size level. At least it was
for me.
There is a vivid memory in my head from a
lunch period in the spring of 1983, my
freshman year in high school. The scene is as
almost as clear today as it was then. I was
sitting with my friend group on one of those
long cafeteria tables, doing what high school
freshman do at lunch—laughing, making fun
of each other, etc. At the same time, one of
the history teachers, who was also the new
head baseball coach, was cruising around the
lunchroom. In the two days prior, the coach
had held baseball tryouts. Now he was
breaking the news to all those who did not
make the team. Personally, I was not
concerned. I had played the game since I was
five years old, and I had the expectation that I
would not only be on the team, but that I
would play, and play a lot.

I recall watching coach lean over to
several guys, whispering in their ears
those fateful words, “I’m sorry. You weren’t
chosen for the team.” Man, I felt sorry for
them. But I also felt good, because I knew I
was chosen.
Losing sight of the coach for a time, I
went back to enjoying my friends, along
with relishing in the delightful cuisine.
That’s when it happened. I felt a tap on my
shoulder. Expecting to turn and see a
friend, I turned instead and saw the coach.
My demeanor immediately went from
confident to tremulous as he leaned down
and whispered those fateful words in my
ear, “I’m sorry. You weren’t chosen for the
team.” Sigh. Gut punch. Out of all the guys
who received that news that day, by the
way, I was the only one to leave in tears. I
just knew I would be chosen. But I wasn’t.
And it hurt.
Everybody wants to be chosen. We
crave to be needed and wanted in this life.
Regardless who we are, and regardless
whether we live life on the margins or in
the middle of everything or somewhere in
between, we all want others to see our
worth, and to treat us accordingly. We pray
that those around us will, like our God
above, see past our failures and foibles to
the image that God has imprinted upon us.
There is little else that is as important to
human beings—every one of us—than
others recognizing that we are made by
We have been chosen by God in
Christ. The world has its say in the matter,
of course, but the world does not get to
decide who we are, or whose we are. God
has already borne witness to us. Jesus has
said to us, “You are mine.” We have been

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