By CLINT FOSTER
"Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come... Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." – 1 Timothy 4:6 and 12.
The Apostle Paul wrote those words in his first letter to his colleague, Timothy, regarding his Christian ministry in the Turkish city of Ephesus. Now, approximately 1,950 years later, it would appear a perfect mirror of Paul's message in that passage exists in the form of a local high school baseball team: the Mineral Wells Rams.
Whether on or off the baseball diamond, the Rams are guided by their over-arching faith in Jesus Christ. And under the leadership of head coach Bret Barrick, the group of 19 young men are united by their faith and knit closer than many families.
"While I'm a coach and a teacher, my job is to expand God's kingdom," Barrick said. "I don't want to be a holy roller and try to run it down people's throats, but we are going to have faith.
"I believe in Jesus Christ as my savior. I make that known, there's no secret about that. I'm not afraid or ashamed to say it out in public. Our kids have bought into that. If I'm open about my faith, it makes them comfortable to be open about their faith. That's all I want them to do."
As it says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, Barrick said his team strives to glorify God in everything they do, especially on the baseball field.
"We realize that our talents and abilities are God-given," he said. "We try to glorify God with the way we play, the way we act and the things we do. We want to win with grace, lose with grace and be humble about our position. That humility and that grace comes from our Lord and savior.