Player To Be Named Later (PTBNL)
Sep 29, 2019
Who is the hero of the book of Ezra? If you think this sounds like a trick question, you’re right. It isn’t Ezra. (Ezra does not show up in the history he records until nearly 100 years later.)
Zerubbabel is one of the people Ezra names in the second chapter of this book, alongside Jeshua and other leaders, plus…dozens and dozens of others, each representing still more of the heroes who took the first steps to re-establish God’s people in Jerusalem. They are not named from the beginning of the book, they are named later.
Though the biblical story and the sports world where this phrase comes from are obviously different, the idea of a player to be named later is powerful. In baseball, it refers to a player to be traded that hasn’t been named yet, typically, a minor league player or “journeyman” major league player (read “not a star.")
The story of the fictitious baseball hero "Crash" Davis" is a good place to see how this works. When Kevin Costner’s character shows up in the movie Bull Durham, he is not expected to do great things. He is not meant to be a star. Rather, he is there to help the “real” talent learn.
And that’s what I love about God’s ways. Yes, the Kingdom needs its superstars, people who take the heat, make the public statements and stand out in front. But by far, the greatest number of God’s heroes play roles that are behind the scenes. They are not named up front. They are players to be named later.