[Dizzy Dean] was quite fond of saying, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up.” Since he is a [St. Louis Cardinals] legend as the leader of the [Gashouse Gang], I have to give him some slack.
As a side note, I was surprised to find that the Wikipedia article on the Gashouse Gang is incorrect about the nickname. For it is actually referring to the perception (especially at the time) that most of the members of that 1934 team would have surely been on [death row] by then if they hadn’t become baseball players on account of being such an ornery bunch. Of course, I could be sorely mistaken, but I don’t think so.
Anyway, getting back to the braggin’ part, what Dizzy Dean would like to say is somewhat different than what the Apostle Paul was given to say. For it is written: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. [Philippians 4:13]
Alas, as with so many other things, the significance of that verse has waned considerably in far too many hearts. For they are so focused on the fact that there is nothing good about any of us that they absolutely refuse to recognize the work of our Heavenly Father’s Holy Spirit in and through someone [Philippians 2:13].
No, I cannot naturally blame them for being that way. For it has been widely taught for far too long that the ability to overcome any obstacle is available through Christ, but we have to actually do the overcoming. Subsequently, that leads to a lot of so-called boasting in the Lord that is really just boasting about what we want to believe we have accomplished in His name as He cheers us on.
Yes, our Heavenly Father could certainly put an end to all doubts. For He could actually stand on the sidelines and watch as those who want to believe that they have been empowered to wield the sword of truth and justice against all unrighteousness make complete fools out of themselves in the eyes of this world, and in many cases, He has.
You see, as it appears to be in a man-made army, a solider is given a weapon and trained in how to fight with it, but this is not the way it is with our Heavenly Father. For He is really the One who is doing the fighting through us, and this is true of everything that we do in this world—from raising our children to making a living.
Nonetheless, it is so very important to know and understand that it all depends upon what He wants to accomplish in and through someone. For He will raise some up in the eyes of this world while He will crush others, but in all cases, it will be as it should be in the end [Matthew 19:28-30].
Again, none of this means that we have nothing to do with anything. For we all have a part to play, but instead of wanting to believe that we have done good, we would be much better off wanting to truly be thankful for the good that He has done in and through us, while humbly accepting that even this is another gift of His grace.
To bring it all home, it would have been wonderful if Dizzy Dean had of been fond of saying, “What I have done ain’t mine to brag about. For it is the Lord God Almighty, who takes the mound, when it is my turn to pitch.”
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