Bernie Carbo. Do you know who he is? Unless you were watching major league baseball in the 1970's or are a student of the game you probably have never heard his name. Bernie Carbo played as an outfielder and designated hitter for six different teams from 1969 to 1980. After his first full season with the Cincinnati Reds he was selected Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News in 1970. He slumped in the next two seasons and was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, then in 1973 was traded to the Boston Red Sox.
In 1975 the Red Sox played Cincinnati in the World Series. The Boston roster of course had some big names: Carl Yastrzemski, Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Rico Petrocelli, Luis Tiant. Game Six of that series is remembered for Carlton Fisk's incredible 12th inning home run at Fenway Park that gave Boston the victory and forced a seventh game. It's regarded as one of the greatest moments in World Series history. I watched it live on TV. If you've never seen it you can view it here.
What many people don't know and what many people who even saw the game have forgotten is that Bernie Carbo came in as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning of that game and hit a three-run home run that tied the score at 6-6. Without that hit, Fisk would never have had the chance to become a hero. So Carbo's greatest moment was overshadowed by a greater moment by a teammate. Carbo ended his career after 12 seasons, having played 1010 games with a batting average of .264, 96 home runs, and 358 RBI in 2733 at bats. Hardly impressive statistics for a major league baseball player - but he had a role to play, he played it, and his team benefited from it.
We who are believers in and followers of Jesus Christ each have a role to play in the Kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 and Ephesians 4:4-16 tell us the following about the Church:
We are one body made up of many parts.
Each part is different and needed.
We each have different gifts and abilities.
We rejoice with each other.
We suffer with each other.
We should care for one another.
We should be unified.
You need the Church. The Church needs you. You may be one who hits a home run few remember, you may hit the home run that will be talked about for years, you may be a baserunner when a home run is hit, you may be in the dugout cheering on your teammate, but we are all contributors in some way. Hebrews 10:23-25 says "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching."