Musings on Baseball, Missions and Ernie Banks

It’s the dead of winter and I’m writing this article feeling all of the sickly woes that seem to kick me every year about this time. I might as well calendar it in. January…Bronchitis…check. So while I’m looking outside dreaming of a bright, warm spring day, I hear that Ernie Banks has passed away. Ernie Banks was a player I remember from my childhood who stood out, at least to me, as much for his class and humility as for his glove. The man was total class. I was never a Chicago Cubs fan. Let me repeat that: never, ever a Cubs fan, but I watched Ernie Banks on television as often as possible. I was an Ernie Banks Cubs fan. He hit 512 homeruns and drove in 1636 runs over his nineteen seasons with the Cubs. He played in fourteen All-Star Games in those nineteen years. Few players equal those numbers, then few players are called Mr. Cub either. Obviously, only Mr. Banks is Mr. Cub, and maybe one day Hank Aaron will be Mr. Brave, and we could argue over a handful of other players, but we would be talking about the entirety of baseball’s history. No doubt, Ernie Banks stands out. A man of class has passed on leaving a great legacy.

Leaving a legacy is what draws me to invest so heavily in missions. My missional journey began at age twenty-five when I lead my first ‘road trip’ missions endeavor and I haven’t slowed down over the intervening thirty-five years. The greatest thing about missions is the legacy has nothing, absolutely and totally nothing, to do with me or anyone else doing the missional work. The legacy is spiritual and it is tied to the church and to God’s Kingdom. Nothing we do missionally is about me or you, it’s about why we do what we do.

This was true in August when we provided 550 gifts for the Norcross Christmas needs. This was true when between VBS and November, we provided 1100 Operation Christmas Child boxes to meet global needs. This was true when we had a team in Ethiopia; and when we had teams in the Dominican to build a school, to teach English, and to build a clean water system. This was true, recently, when eighteen people from JCBC traveled to Presidio for the eighth time to provide coaching to the boys and girls of one of the poorest cities in America.

Somehow Ernie Banks made an impression on a kid in Birmingham, and all these years later, I’m writing about it. Legacy in action. Kids in Presidio are talking about people from JCBC…legacy in action. A child is drinking clean water right this minute in both Ethiopia and in the D.R. thanks to the generosity of JCBC…legacy in action. It’s not about me or you, it’s about why we do what we do.

Don’t miss the ImagiNext Fair on Sunday, February 15 where there will be 20+ displays on our missional possibilities. Be part of the legacy!

Michael McCullar
Formations Pastor
Johns Creek Baptist Church

1 Comment. Leave new

  • Marsha Hunter
    February 7, 2015 3:23 pm

    I was and am a Cubs fan though I grew up in Texas. Going to a game at Wrigley Field sealed that baseball love crush for me. Ernie Banks, as Mr. Cub, will always be a part of America’s Game and a shining light of influence men of character can be – even if you did not know them personally. Thank you, Michael. It was a sad day losing Ernie, but we can always cherish his memory by living in the Godly way he chose to live his.


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