In baseball, good pitching always beats good hitting. In modern baseball, a bullpen of good pitchers has become a necessity for teams to win. Starting pitchers cannot handle the stress of the workload and having specialists to get batters out makes the bullpen a powerful weapon. Baseball bullpens include closers, set-up men, left-handed specialists, right-handed specialists, middle relievers, and long relievers. In a spiritual sense, we also need the gifts of others to help us win. Others need us in their bullpen also.
King David had a bullpen of All-Stars, heavy with a steady diet of God’s word. These relievers included prophets, expert advisors, friends, warriors, and influential women. Samuel, Nathan, Gad, Ahithophel, Hushai, Zadok, Joab, even Abigail and Bathsheba. David had 3 mighty men, another level of 3 more, then 30 additional heroes. Several times David’s bullpen prevented disaster, strengthened him, and saved his life - whether in battle, struggle, or personal difficulty. Given the extreme example of David’s many failures, the fact that he is counted as Israel’s greatest king behind Christ and “a man after God’s own heart” is a testimony to the spirituality of a flawed but great king who intentionally surrounded himself with a bullpen of All-Stars. Unlike King Saul and King Solomon, follow David’s humble example and keep loading your spiritual bullpen with All-Star relievers.
Just as major league baseball teams are intentional about building a winning bullpen, so we need to as well. Some are supplements that can be done with books, articles, podcasts, and videos, but most will have to be live people in the flesh. Who is your “closer” - a trusted spiritual authority with doctrinal and prayer support? Who are your “set-up” men that advise you on relationships from a Biblical worldview? Who are the “middle relievers” you go to for motivation, mercy, and maybe just having fun? Do you have access to “left-handed specialists” of Christian apologetics that are often needed to help bail you out of a tricky jam? What about “right-handed specialists” who advise you on practical matters of money, career, and education from a Biblical perspective? Finally, do you have any “long relievers” - those pitchers you call on if things have gotten a bit out of control? “Long relievers” may include healthy pastoral guidance from church staff or small groups to perhaps even formally-trained Christian counselors to help you “stop the bleeding” and “get out of the tough inning” (e.g., your crippling wounds, hangups, and anxieties).
Ephesians 4:15-16 NLT - Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.