Bunting is not as easy as it looks. When a ball is coming at you 65 mph from 43 feet away, while you may only be trying to get it on the ground right in front of you, there is something terrifying about just standing there as the ball is spinning toward you. Then when you factor bat angle—better than parallel, tilted upward, in front of home plate, one hand below the barrel—it can get more complicated than it looks.
On our signals card, we call it “SAC” for “sacrifice.” Bunting, for the purpose of moving a runner, is a sacrifice. You make contact with ball assuming that you are going to get out. While you may sacrifice an at bat, the thing is… it’s not about you.
The most humble thing I can do in the sport of softball is lay down a bunt. We don’t get the glory, it’s the teammate that gets the base hit after us that is credited with the RBI.
I got the “SAC” sign during Friday night’s game. I am not necessarily the best bunter we have on the team, but I knew at this point when we were down 3 runs, I needed to do whatever it took to get in the right mental place. As the pitch was coming and I squared to bunt, this exact thought crossed through my mind: I lay down my life for my team.
Bunt down, runner moved.
It wasn’t until later that I remembered the thought that had gone through my mind and the weight that this thought carried. I lay down my life…
I had heard this phrase just the night before while we were discussing Jesus as Shepherd at KU College Younglife. In the passage John 10:14-15, 17-18, Jesus says some form of this phrase four times:
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep… The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.
Jesus, by His own authority but according to the will of the Father, laid down His life for us on the Cross and changed the course of history forever. He endured not only a physical death, but a spiritual death—separation from His Father in Heaven, enduring our sin—so that we could have a spiritual relationship with the Father.
And our Father, knowing that His Son would endure this pain, placed Him on this earth as a sacrifice.
“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the world.” -1 John 2:2
And that, my friends, is true, sacrificial love.
We are all sinners and undeserving of this love, yet still, God sacrificed His son while we were still sinners.
The least we can do is sacrifice our lives for Him.
How do we do this?
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” -Psalm 51:7
“Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” –Romans 12:1
According to the Scriptures, we sacrifice our broken spirits, so that He can create us anew, and we present our bodies as a living sacrifice so that He can transform us.
God sacrificed Jesus in death, and now we can sacrifice ourselves in life. Yet our sacrifice is nothing compared to His. The comparison is so vastly different that we can hardly view our part as a sacrifice. Instead, we see it as a way to be obedient to God, a way that by His grace we get to respond to His amazing love.