Read Luke 8:26-39.
“’Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’ So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him” (v. 39).
From an outfielder doing a handstand during a game to a pitcher getting a bus driver mad at him, the Tigers’ national-champion baseball team of 1954 had some stories to tell.
Missouri’s first national champions in a team sport went 22-4 and ripped through the Big Seven with an 11-1 record. Powered by a .311 team batting average and a 2.30 team earned run average and led by legendary coach John “Hi” Simmons, they won the College World Series by dropping only one game. Behind pitcher Ed Cook and a home run from Buddy Cox, the Tigers beat Rollins College 4-1 in the championship game.
The title is a story in itself, but so is pitcher Norm Stewart’s reaction after a horrible start against Oklahoma A&M (now State). Stewart, who later coached MU men’s basketball, didn’t get out of the first inning. “Our team bus driver was Bob Finley, the mayor of Mexico, Mo.,” Stewart said. “I was so mad I hit the side of his bus with my cleats, and then I had him mad at me.”
Outfielder Lee Roy Wynn found himself in a real bind prior to the game against top-seeded Michigan in the world series. Simmons told him the day before that he would start. That night in the hotel, Wynn busted his glasses wrestling with pitcher Bob Bauman, who was also a Mizzou fullback. Rather than miss his chance to start, Wynn didn’t tell Simmons and played the game with one lens. After the 4-3 win, he confessed to Simmons. “He turned white as a ghost,” Wynn remembered.
Once to relieve the boredom in the bullpen, Stewart convinced “team cutup” Bob Musgrave to do a handstand while he was playing right field against an overmatched Colorado team.
Yep, the ‘54 national champions have some stories to tell.
So maybe you didn’t win a national title in college or even a state title in high school. You nevertheless have a story to tell; it’s the story of your life and it’s unique. No one else among the billions of people on this planet can tell the same story.
Part of that story is your encounter with Jesus. It’s the most important chapter of all, but, strangely enough, believers in Jesus Christ often don’t tell it. Otherwise brave and daring Christian men and women who wouldn’t think twice of skydiving or white-water rafting often quail when they are faced with the prospect of speaking about Jesus to someone else. It’s the dreaded “W” word: witness. “I just don’t know what to say,” they sputter.
But witnessing is nothing but telling your story. No one can refute it; no one can claim it isn’t true. You don’t get into some great theological debate for which you’re ill prepared. You just tell the beautiful, awesome story of Jesus and you.
My fear was that at some point during the game I would stick my finger through the frame to itch my eye and give myself away. — Lee Roy Wynn on playing with busted glasses vs. Michigan
We all have a story to tell, but the most important part of all is the chapter where we meet Jesus.