Reading Time: 3 minutes

Josh Hamilton’s bat and a dead tree

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

facebook twitter instagram

A dead tree I found while hiking recently (Credit: Jim Denison)

Josh Hamilton’s four-home-run bat is headed for the Hall of Fame.  I took this picture of a dead tree while hiking recently.  What do the two have in common?

They’re both made of wood, of course.  And they’re both flawed from within.  Josh used one bat to hit eight home runs over the last week, but it cracked in the seventh inning of Sunday night’s game as he stroked an RBI single.  “She died a hero,” he told reporters after the game while smiling.  “She was tired, she was getting a little weak.”  So he’s sent the bat to Cooperstown, where it will be displayed in baseball’s Hall of Fame.  Its crack is tiny, but it was enough to render the bat useless for baseball and turn it into a museum trophy.

The cedar in the picture is just as useless.  Why is it dead while trees around it are thriving? Something seems to have happened to its trunk, perhaps an insect infestation or disease, causing it to decay from within.  By the time the external world knew anything was wrong, the tree was already dying.

Today I read Numbers 12, where God explains his intimate relationship with Moses: “With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord” (v. 8).  Why could God speak so personally to Moses?  Because “Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone on the face of the earth” (v. 3).  The Hebrew word translated “humble” means to be submitted, surrendered, yielded to a superior.

Then I read Oswald Chambers’ essay for May 14: “Keep your soul fit to manifest to the life of the Son of God.  Never live on memories; let the word of God be always living and active in you.”  I wrote in my journal: Pay the price to know God and make him known.  Only when I am right with God internally can I be effective for God externally.

Are there cracks in your soul?  Are the insects of temptation trying to burrow into your relationship with your Father?  The rest of us won’t see them until it’s too late.  If you want to know God intimately and serve him powerfully, choose to surrender to him continually.  Decide to “keep yourself fit” spiritually.

And like a bat in the hands of Josh Hamilton, your life will be used by the King of Kings for eternal good.