One of my hobbies is participating in a kind of fantasy baseball league in reverse. Each winter, along with about 12 other guys, we use a a computer simulation called Replay Baseball, draft a team from a past baseball season and use the computer to play the games. This year we’re using players from 1934. In the 25th round of our draft, I chose Milt Galatzer as backup outfielder.
I don’t believe I had ever heard of Milt Galatzer prior to this past week. I’m a baseball nut, but I wasn’t alive and following the game in 1934, and Milt Galatzer was hardly a prominent player. He played part-time for the Cleveland Indians from 1933-1936. Then he had 5 at bats for the Cincinnati Reds in 1939 before calling it a career.
From the standpoint of baseball history, Galatzer was a somewhat insignificant player. He doesn’t compare well when putting his stats up against Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott and other greats that played in that time period. But I got thinking – here’s a guy who made it to the big leagues, and somewhere in those four-plus seasons I am sure he made at least some some small contribution to his team.
Now this may seem like a stretch but this is how my mind works. Thinking about Milt Galatzer got me thinking about my parents.
Harold and Betty Bogert have been married 67 years, have been believers since the mid 1960s, and this week I have had the privilege of visiting with them. Dad turned 92 Monday. Mom hit 86 this past April. This is a picture of us taken last night when my sister and my niece met us for dinner. (Autographed copies are available for $50.)
On Sunday they get up early so that they could get to their church at 7:00AM. That’s right. 7AM. They go that early each week and while Dad opens many of the nearly 90 doors in their church building, Mom gets things ready for when the children’s ministry begins.
In the past Dad has served as a small group leader and an Elder. Until just a few years ago Mom taught in the children’s Sunday School. But these days their ministries are confined to seemingly small acts of helping get things ready for worship.
If I can be a bit corny, they are the Milt Galatzers of their church. They’re not going to make the headlines, and they work largely behind the scenes, but they are still (if I can continue being corny) in the game, doing what they can. I’m pretty proud of them.
Pastor, you need people like this in your church. You have those who are elbow-deep in work, teaching, leading, and doing all kinds of things. And they are easy to notice. But you also need people to fill the smaller roles, including older saints who can and so still help in small ways.
Baseball is best known by its big name players. But it also takes people like Matt Galatzer to make a team. Who are the Matt Galatzers in your church, and when was the last time you said, “Thanks!” for what you do?