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Perseverance pays off for Braves

By David L. Chancey
dchancey@mcdonoughroad.org

I’d never heard of Grant Holmes until the 28-year-old pitcher made his Major League debut on Father’s Day at Truist Park against the Tampa Bay Rays. His appearance highlighted an 8-6 Braves loss as Holmes pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only two hits.

The following Wednesday Holmes mowed down the Detroit Tigers with a nine-pitch ninth inning to secure a Braves shutout.

As the Braves grind out the 2024 season, battling to overcome injuries to several key players, the Grant Holmes story is a feel-good moment for anyone needing encouragement to “hang in there.”

The Conway, South Carolina native grew up following the Braves and attending nearby Myrtle Beach Pelicans games, seeing the likes of Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward rising through the Minor Leagues.

The Dodgers drafted Holmes in the first round in 2014, beginning a decade-long journey to fulfill his dream of reaching the big leagues. Ten teams, ten seasons, 232 games, and finally the call up to Atlanta.

Did he ever think about quitting?

“Never,” Holmes said.

Braves manager Brian Snitker said, “I’ve got a lot of respect for him and what he’s done. Anybody that fights that hard . . .”

Perseverance often pays off in baseball and also pays off in Christian service as God uses the faithfulness and dedication of His people.

Think about Joseph. As a teenager, his jealous brothers treated him poorly, threw him into a pit, then sold him into slavery, leaving him behind and not caring one bit about his welfare. Joseph ended up in Egypt serving Potiphar, the captain of Pharoah’s guard. Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of sexual assault and he was thrown into prison and forgotten.

God gave Joseph the unique ability to interpret dreams, and God used this ability to place him eventually into a position of great leadership and influence. When famine hit back home, his brothers came to Egypt requesting food. The official in charge? Joseph!

Joseph endured tremendous trials, but never lost his faith. He endured, trusting God’s sovereignty, until God engineered circumstances for him to reconcile with his brothers and assist them with their need for food.

The payoff? “God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:7-8).

Think about Paul. Radically saved on the road to Damascus, suddenly the Gospel message he attempted to stifle he now boldly proclaimed. Not everyone was happy about it. His life was often threatened, simply because he preached Jesus.

He wrote the Corinthian believers, “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness . . .” (2 Corinthians 11:24-27).

Yet, Paul faithfully fulfilled his calling to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. The payoff? Three missionary journeys, new churches planted, thirteen New Testament books written, and only heaven knows how many converts.

An old preacher struggled with his ministry. He knew things weren’t going well. To make matters worse, one of his deacons criticized him moments before the worship service started.

“Pastor, there has only been one person added to our rolls this year . . . and it was only a little boy.”

The reminder cut him to the core. He preached his message, thinking about resigning the entire time. As everyone was leaving, the little boy met him at the door and asked about how he could become a preacher or a missionary.

The young boy was Robert Moffat, a Scottish pioneer missionary to South Africa for over 50 years. Throughout his mission work, Moffat opened mission stations, translated the Bible into the language of the people and wrote books still encouraging missionaries today.

David L. Chancey, the Writing Pastor, lives in Fayetteville and recently retired from his longtime pastorate. He writes a regular column for several newspapers and has authored three books. Visit DavidChancey.com for more information. He also loves to preach as often as possible.

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