I learned so much in baseball this year, and maybe I wouldn’t have learned as much if I hadn’t tried to listen. We won the World Series, but I had a time when I was pretty frustrated about how the coaches were using me. We won the World Series, the ultimate prize, and yet for a little while there I had a pity party for myself! You see, sometimes failure is what makes you want to listen more.
And God taught me. He said, “Hey listen, obviously I’m not asking you right now to be the best reliever in baseball, or even on your team. I can give you that ability. I’ve given you that ability! It’s there. But right now, I want you to pray for your teammates. I want you to pray a blessing on them. I want you to pray judgments off of them. I want you to do this, because right now, you’re the only one that’s going to do it. And this is how the team’s going to succeed.”
Well, it was part of how we succeeded! I’m sure some of my teammates would probably roll their eyes if I told them that we won because I prayed. Of course they’d roll their eyes! They’d probably laugh at me, too. But like I said, it’s okay whether my teammates believe in God or not, because God believes in them. I’ve seen teammates walk into the chapel and throw their bats. And then walk out again! They want to believe sometimes. You can just imagine what they’re thinking. “Pray for my bats at least. Something!” There is a time in their careers when they want to pray to God.
God knows we tend to pray and to listen just a little bit more when we’re failing. When things start getting a little rough, we quiet down and say, “God, please show me.” If you’re truly a follower of Christ, you’ll say, “Please, show me. I’m here. Talk to me, I’m listening. You got me. What do you want me to learn from this? I really want to learn.”
So, I really don’t know if God wanted the Giants to win the World Series. But I do know this: sometimes, God is going to let you fail. It’s part of the teaching process. God is going to say, “It is not a matter of whether I love you or not, or if I favor you or not, because I do. I sent my son Jesus to die for you. Obviously I love you. But I’ve got to teach you. Gold refined in the fire becomes pure. I’ve got to take out the impurities.”
For me, as a believer in the King, I know my prayers were a big part of our success. God asked me to do something, and I did it. And that’s why I did it – because He asked me to!
Next week, I’ll tell you a little bit about that fateful Game 6 of the NLCS. And I know the New Year is coming, and I’d like to share some of my thoughts about money and success before you make those resolutions. But this Friday, look for a Christmas message from me to you and yours.