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Week 50 Bible Reading: Acts 5:1–11

The Other Bill Henry

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! - Matthew 23:13

On June 28, 1969, Bill Henry was released by the Houston Astros, ending a seventeen-year major league career. Henry wasn’t surprised by the news that the Astros were letting him go at age forty-one.

Bill was surprised one day in 2007, though, by the news that he had died. A baseball historian called his wife to express his sorrow after reading of his death in Florida. “Bill didn’t pass away in Florida,” she told the caller from their Texas home. “He’s sitting here next to me.”

As it turns out, the Bill Henry who died of a heart attack in Florida was not the Bill Henry who racked up ninety saves in the majors.

He only said he was.

The copycat Bill Henry—actually a retired salesman from Michigan—told his wife and stepchildren and anyone who would listen that he was a former major league pitcher, with baseball cards (the real baseball-playing Bill Henry’s, of course) to prove it.

That’s an extreme example of something we all struggle with—being who we say we are. Jesus had hard words for the hypocrisy of the Pharisees (Matthew 23). Hypocrisy is saying you’re one thing but living a different way—like saying you’re honest but cheating on tests at school.

Living a lie is not something God takes lightly. Let’s be true to our word.

Fun Fact

The real baseball-playing Bill Henry of the Cincinnati Reds was a member of the 1960 National League All-Star team. He pitched one inning and gave up two hits as the NL beat the AL 6–0 at Yankee Stadium.

Just You and God

I don’t want to be a liar like the guy in the story. Help me, Jesus, to tell the truth and not be a hypocrite.
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