We can’t change the rules

Published 8:10 am Thursday, August 12, 2021

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“Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.  – Deuteronomy 4:2 “It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. – Deuteronomy 13:4

John Harry Scolinos was a college baseball coach from 1946 to 1991 for Pepperdine University and then California State Polytechnic University in Pomona.

In January of 1996, Coach Scolinos spoke in front of more than 4,000 people at the American Baseball Coaches Association. Five years after retiring, 78-year-old Coach John Scolinos shuffled on stage with a home plate on a chain around his neck like a necklace.

After introductions, and with laughter building, the coach finally asked the crowd, “You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarilla State Hospital. No, I may be old, but I’m not crazy.”

The coach proceeded to ask the crowd, “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a long pause, the answer came, “Seventeen inches.”

“That’s right! How about in Babe Ruth?” Seventeen inches. “What about in high school?” Seventeen inches. “College?” Seventeen inches. Minor League? Major League? Both seventeen inches.

“Seventeen inches!” Coach Scolinos continued by asking the crowd what happens if a pitcher is struggling. He answered by saying what they don’t do.

“They don’t say, ‘That’s OK. You can’t hit the target, so we will make it 18 inches or 19 inches.”

We’ll make it 20 inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say 25 inches.”

Scolinos then shared how this is what we have done in schools, in churches, in society.

“If we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools, churches, government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to…dark days ahead.”

Folks, we need to keep ourselves at 17 inches. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my follower must deny themself and take up their cross and follow me (Mark 18:34).”

We can’t just change the rules to fit, or just widen the plate.

We shall live by God’s way alone.