In The Clutch

Carlos Beltran, Jon Jay

In the clutch.

It’s the crucial moment that comes between winning and losing. It’s an adjectival part of speech which means it describes and defines a noun.  This descriptor means being able to perform under extreme pressure.  It is derived from the clutch mechanism in a manual car, where perfect timing can mean the difference between a launch and a stall.

Christians, above all others, should be able to perform under extreme pressure.  Those who are spiritual should be able to respond, not just under pressure, but under extreme pressure. When the Egyptians persecuted the children of Israel, “the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.”  We thrive in the clutch.

In the 2013 ALCS between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers, well past midnight at Busch Stadium, but with most of a sellout crowd still waiting expectantly, Beltran singled into the right-field corner with one out against Kenley Jansen to finish a game that took 4 hours, 47 minutes.  Earlier in the contest, Beltran hit a tying, two-run double in the third inning. Then he took charge on defense, calling center fielder Jon Jay off the ball before throwing out a runner at the plate from shallow right field in the 10th to keep it even. “I felt I was going to have a better angle so I called for the ball about five or six times,” Beltran said. “And Jon Jay was able to hear me and leave it up to me.”

“It’s like you’ve got to put a mirror under his nose to check if he’s breathing, he’s so calm, cool and relaxed,” leadoff man Matt Carpenter said after Beltran delivered another big October performance in a 3-2, 13-inning victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night. “It’s like jazz music is playing in his head. He’s just so even-keel, nothing gets to him.”  Nothing gets to him. Sounds like the Apostle Paul, who said, “None of these things move me.” 

Paul also said, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, New Living Translation.

In the clutch, the power we gain to perform, to glorify God and to edify our fellow sisters and brothers comes from the Holy Spirit.  It is He that hath made us, and motivated us, and matured us, not we ourselves.

That’s why we can come through, overcome any obstacle, and emerge victorious in the clutch.

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