While many of you see the New Year as a time of renewal and a fresh start, I consistently find myself stuck in what some of you call “basketball season.” I just refer to it as those dark months between football season and baseball season.
I love baseball in just about every form but I hate college baseball. Don’t get me wrong, I love the purity of the competition at the collegiate level. I love that most of these guys never get a chance to play at the next level so this is their last stop. They’re giving it all they’ve got.
They don’t sign endorsement deals or get distracted by multi-million dollar contracts like in the pros.
But I hate the sound of college baseball. It’s anything but pure. It’s changed some over the years but there’s always been this unmistakable ping of some type of metal bat whereas any baseball purist can tell you you’re supposed to hear the crack of a wooden bat.
Louisville Slugger has been making bats since 1884. One day a young woodworking apprentice went to an amateur baseball game and watched one of his favorite players fail to get a hit as he broke several bats during the course of the game. The young apprentice approached the player after that game and invited him to come to his woodworking shop to receive a custom made bat to use in tomorrow’s game. The player went on to collect 3 hits the next day and then immediately sent all his teammates to the wood working shop for their own custom made bats and the legend of the Louisville Slugger was born.
Ever since then the company has almost exclusively made their bats for professional baseball players, each one custom made to the player’s exact specifications, even down to the type of wood used.
Up until 2002, each bat was hand carved. A skilled craftsman could take the seasoned log of wood used to create the bats and carve one in 15 minutes to the exact specifications of the player with expert, precision detail.
However, now the work is done by a computerized process yet the custom, precision work has never changed. The computerized carving machine is still only operated by the most skilled craftsmen and can carve a bat in 42 seconds.
Louisville Slugger makes almost 2 million bats a year and no two players have ever requested the exact same specifications. However, every Louisville Slugger bat comes with the exact same brand stamp burned into the wood.
The types of wood used to create the bats have changed over time. The weights and specifications have evolved too.
Yet one thing has never changed, the brand stamp unifies the bats Louisville Slugger has made in parts of three different centuries.
God has done an even greater work in creating you and me. We are each custom made by God, created with unique gifts and talents. Our gifts can very different from one another but they are given to us by the same God for the same reasons, to serve one another and to glorify God.
Even though our gifts are different from one another we too have been given a divine brand stamp that unifies us all. While we are indeed custom made, we are also made in the image of God. Our different gifts should serve as a constant reminder of all the different ways God has loved us and made himself known to us yet it is the source of our creation, God himself that holds us together.
Our church is currently preaching a mini-series called “Custom Made” on spiritual gifts as we journey through 1 Corinthians.
You can watch the sermons here.
Click here to see the spiritual gifts assessment we used in our home groups to start discovering the ways God has custom made us.