Spiritual Practice


Andy Clapp

You can feel the butterflies in your stomach. The lights are on, and everyone is watching you. You want to do your best and definitely not mess up. Jack Wilson, shortstop for the Atlanta Braves, knows the feeling. Each day, when he goes to work, tens of thousands of people are watching him. They cheer for every good play he makes, and they groan with every mistake. Each day, he also takes the field for his faith, putting into practice what he has learned from the Bible.


L.A. Dodgers vs. Atlanta BravesThe life of a baseball player can be tough. Jack points out that “it’s always tied into the game. How you are playing affects your attitude and your personality; and sure enough, that affects how you are with your wife and kids.”

Jack admits that one of his biggest struggles is combining baseball with family life: “You’re always on guard, trying to protect yourself and your family. You’re being pulled left and right, all which ways, during the course of your career.” Jack also knows that the divorce rate in baseball is about eighty-six percent; and though he struggles to find time with his family, he feels blessed that his wife and kids are able to travel with him on many of his trips.

Early in his career, Jack often wondered where God was during times of trouble; but then, he says, “I started trusting God more and praying about problems rather than trying to figure them out on my own. That’s a huge help because it’s too much to take on by myself. The biggest lesson I had to learn was to ask for God’s help rather than relying on my own strength.”

So how does Jack know that God is with him? “It’s faith. God shows up all the time. You have to look for God rather than focusing on other things or listening to the demons out there in the world.”

Through experience, perseverance, and faith, Jack has continued to play baseball and to live his life for Christ. Yet just having faith is not good enough for Jack. He also tries to put into practice what he learns in scripture and is taught about faith.

“You hear people talking all the time about how hypocritical Christians can be. We learn things on Sunday or we go to Baseball Chapel or a Bible study, but then we don’t incorporate those things into our lives. We feel good inside while we’re reading the scriptures or participating in worship or Bible study. Then we step outside the door and become completely different people. If we don’t act on the teachings we hear and read the Bible as we should, then we’ve wasted our time. Everybody has a talent and has to find a way to serve God through that talent.”

Jack understands that words alone do not change the world; actions, along with faith, change the world. When we put God’s word into practice, we know that God is with us to help us along the way. When we act on God’s word and put our faith in the Lord, the world will be changed, one person at a time.



Jack Wilson puts his faith into practice when he takes the field and as he tries to set an example for others in his daily life. When do you put your faith into action? When is it difficult for you to put God’s word into practice? How do you use your gifts and talents to glorify God?


Photo Credit: Pouya Dianat/Atlanta Braves

Andy Clapp , author of Under the Lights: Living Their Faith with Everyone Watching, has served for twelve years as a student pastor in North Carolina, where he lives with his wife Crystal and their daughter Cheyenne.

—from devozine (May/June 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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