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A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Something Bigger

November 11th, 2001

2001 Diamondbacks WS Cap 

During the past couple weeks I’ve sold more T-shirts and baseball caps than I can count.

I work part-time for the Team Shop and when the World Series came to Phoenix it was all hands on deck. Tens of thousands of people came to town and most all of them paid a visit to the store at Bank One Ball Park. I worked Games 1 and 6 of the series. Though not a huge baseball fan, I must admit it was a kick to witness the atmosphere of the Major League Fall Classic. The atmosphere, of course, is better when your team wins. The D-Backs won the title in the most thrilling Game 7 since Jack Morris and the Minnesota Twins shut out Atlanta in 1991.

The Team Shop was a consumer feeding frenzy. Over $1.1 million of Diamondback merchandise sold on the day of Game 1 alone. A normal six month supply of shopping bags were gone in one week. Honestly, it was the easiest selling I’ve ever done. I spent a good part of the game walking down the long line of customers waiting their turn at the cash register. Holding up a set of commemorative pins I asked in a “just loud enough so the person behind you can hear” voice, “Have you seen these pins? They’re numbered Limited Edition. They only made 5,000 for the whole World Series.” They pawed them out of my hand like bears in a salmon stream.

Selling has been my vocation for many years. I’ve watched people make lots of different buying decisions. Everything from .50 cent cherry Sno-Cones at the county fair to closing big deals and signing official documents in all sorts of settings. Yet I’m most intrigued with the sales process when selling logo apparel. Be it Diamondback T-shirts or selling concert merchandise to yelling, sometimes drunk, sometimes high, sometimes goofy and always entertaining music fans. Piled 10 wide and 20 deep, they impatiently wait to press cash into my hand for a $32 XL T-shirt featuring an airbrushed image of their favorite celebrity.

I think about it every time I make the exchange of T-shirt for cash. What is it that makes us want to buy something with someone else’s identity on it? Why do we want to wear someone else’s face on our shirt? What’s going on inside our brain when we decide to spend money for anything featuring the image of a celebrity?

It came clearer to me as I walked through a sea of screaming fans moments after the Diamondbacks won the World Series. Thousands of people who didn’t know one another from a baseball bat were suddenly one big family enjoying a block party. Everyone was everyone else’s friend. People, who in any other circumstance wouldn’t have nodded simple acknowledgment to one another, were behaving like fraternity buddies. Teenagers dressed like pubescent gangster rappers were high-fiving gray haired couples in purple polo shirts. Shady looking characters exchanged smiling hand slaps with policemen. On any other night you’d look over your shoulder walking this strip of sidewalk. This night the bump from behind was a hug from a stranger.

Why do we buy a shirt with someone else’s face or logo on it? Because deep down we all crave to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We long to be identified with something grand. It’s why we save our ticket stubs and programs. In years to come we can tell the story and brandish proof that we were one of a select eye-witness group. We love to hear ourselves say, “I was there!”.

It shows up in our words, too. Fans say, “WE won the World Series!” Actually, the Diamondback players won the World Series. It was Gonzo’s looping base hit that drove in the winning run, not the cheering of a fan in section 224. Yankee faithful are saying, “They beat US.” But it was Mariano Rivera who gave up the hits in the bottom of the 9th, not the deli owner in the Bronx. That fans use first-person plural pronouns when referring to their favorite team is proof that we desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

Though most of the time we don’t feel like it or act like it, we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Each one of us is part of God’s master plan. However random life appears to be, the fact is God was very specific when He created us. The Bible says that one of the reasons God extends His grace and forgiveness is because God made us in His image to do great things for Him. Things that He has prepared in advance for us to do. Things that will give us deep joy and satisfaction. That God created you in His image and spent time preparing great things for you to accomplish is proof that His concern for you is anything but random. That He prepared great things for others to accomplish is proof you’re not alone.

If you’re not feeling a sense of purpose or if you’re not convinced that you’re part of something bigger, take a minute and ask God to sell you on the idea that He has a plan for you. Don’t worry, it’s a fair question. He won’t try to sell you a T-shirt, but He will do His best to prove that you are a one of a kind, limited edition person.

It’s a sale He died to make.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:8-10