3 Helpful Hints to Doing Your Job Well


Caesar, our Brazilian foreign exchange student, slumped and slowed. In his last at bat of the season, he slapped a low line drive to the shortstop who caught the ball and held it up to show the umpire.

I said, “Caesar, run it out.”

He dragged his body forward and touched the bag.

The umpire signaled safe.

Safe? Caesar’s safe?

I beamed.

On that one play, I applied a season’s worth of lessons.

1) Know your job.

During the baseball season, I made plenty of mistakes because I didn’t understand my job as a first base coach. In fact, after one especially egregious moment, I got teased by the coaching staff. The varsity coach said, “You can forget about coaching first base for us.”

The egregious moment came when our batter hit the ball right at the first baseman, an obvious easy out at first. But the first basemen chose to throw the ball home in order to gun down our player trying to score.

I watched the close play at home.

My job though wasn’t to watch the close play at home. My job was to watch the base runner heading to first.

Our player scored at home but the runner stopped before first base. He was thrown out but would have been safe if I’d recognized what my job was—watching base runners going to first, not close plays at home.

2) Own your mistakes.

I’ve already shared this story but I repeat its lesson here.

I distracted my own player with ill-timed good advice. “Keep your eye on the pitcher.”

He turned his head and asked, “What?”

In that moment, the pitcher threw over to first and got him out.

My job was to help the base runner, not hinder him.

As the player returned to the dugout, I patted my chest and said, “That’s on me. I made the mistake.” I repeated that line louder to those in the dugout. “My fault!”

When I made mistakes, I learned to own them. During the season, I had plenty of opportunities to practice this particular bit of advice.

3) Do your job.

When Caesar hit a rocket to the shortstop, I applied what I’d learned. My single job in that situation was to get the player to first.

I didn’t decide if the shortstop caught a fly ball. That was the umpire’s job.

My job was to say, “Run, Caesar, run.”

I did my job.

And so did he.

The result was, for the first time all season, our Brazilian exchange student had a hit.

The Apostle Paul writes, “From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:16 NIV).

I’m curious. What is your job/role in the faith community? What lessons have you learned in relation to your role?

I recommend this excellent but sobering piece called The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

This week, I’m writing about 7 Reminders You’re Getting Older at Geezer Guys and Gals.

3 Related Posts You Might Enjoy:

3 Steps to Connecting What You Know to What You Do

3 Smart Lessons I’ve Learned from Dumb Mistakes

Asking a Dumb Question Is Better Than No Question At All

Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes

Two men. Two eternal destinies. One common hope.

My novel can be found at:

WestBow Press

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

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About tnealtarver

I've traveled and spoken around the world but always love to come home. There I eat exceptional meals, drink coffee to my heart's content, and get loved like nowhere else on earth. I believe a community centered in Christ should be all that and so much more.
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6 Responses to 3 Helpful Hints to Doing Your Job Well

  1. For several years now, I have felt like my job in the faith community is to equip and teach others in the faith community. It’s not that I’m unwilling to reach the lost directly, but that doesn’t seem to be my area of gifting. Sure, I remain open to it, but the Holy Spirit seems to direct me toward helping to mature other Christians. Maybe it’s my personality. Maybe it’s the fact that I work from home and don’t have a lot of interaction with people daily. Maybe I’m kidding myself. Just seems like the opportunities to minister come within the faith community. Does this make any sense? Maybe I’m not seeing something.

    • Mary Jeffries McCauley says:

      ynot es Kari, it makes a lot of sense! We are ALL works in progress and need others to be encouragers and mentors and guides as we find our way along the path of life. Thanks for your willingness to help others! May God bless your efforts in ways you know and in ways you may not.

    • tnealtarver says:

      We each have influence where we are. Certainly through your blog, Kari, you reach beyond your home. In my case, I have a passion for sports (as you may have picked up) but I use that platform to influence young men. I’ve learned in recent years my primary gifting is to notice and encourage. I would make a lousy head coach but I’m great in a support role.

      I didn’t tack on the Ephesians 4 quote to make this a “Christian” post. I think it encapsulates the point that we each have our role, our part to play, in the growth of a community centered in Jesus Christ.

      I know I’ve got intelligent readers who will expand on the main point–know and do your job within the Body.

      Kari, you’ve continued to help develop that theme through your comments.

      Mary, you’ve affirmed Kari’s ministry and outreach.

      Well done to you both.

  2. Mary Jeffries McCauley says:

    ouch! Having to own your own mistakes, not blaming someone else….I know a lot of people in power who would do well to learn THAT lesson. In our world today everyone wants to pass the buck, it is alwyas someone else’s fault or responsibility, not mine….especially if I messed up.

    I am trying to figure out what my “job” is right now….life has changed so much in a year. Not that I am complaining….I am very happy sitting right here next to my husband in the semi as we once again cross from Illinois to Minnesota!

    One thing I know for sure is WHOSE I am. I am a child of God and a work in progress. Yet to Him I am beautiful. And I am trying to be available to Him wherever I am.

    • tnealtarver says:

      I’ve gotten better at owning my mistakes (as noted, I have plenty of opportunities to practice that bit of advice) but that knowledge and practice has come at a price. And I’m not always prepared to be that transparent with those I am closest to because of fear or shame or both.

  3. Pingback: Does Playboy Influence Your View of Christian Community? | A Curious Band of Others

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