What does it mean to me, a professional athlete, to serve Jesus? I think that God asks us to go out and hang out with people. He’s a relational God. So I need to be relational. And for me, this means being available and encouraging. I encourage my teammates, because this game is hard enough without the players being negative. I try to spend time with fans before the game, especially with the kids. When the media ask me questions, I try to answer them appropriately, without offending anybody. You have to be there in good times and bad, because that is exactly what God does. I try to do that as much as possible.
When I’m off the field, I want to hang out with people, and encourage them. I represent the Giants at community events, and I help homeless youth and orphans. I really work hard to help with ending slavery and alleviating the suffering caused by the water and hunger crises.
I use my twitter account to share encouraging things. I want to encourage people because I believe that that is part of the character of God, and I can reflect that. I believe that’s what I’m supposed to do.
On the mound, I ask myself what God would do. How would He compete? Well, He would give it everything He’s got. He wouldn’t fail as much as I fail, obviously! But I think that I’m supposed to go out there and work hard. I’m supposed to give it everything I’ve got, and never quit.
So if you’ve been to a game this season, thank you for coming out. Thank you for coming to see some top athletes trying to compete to see who’s better. I hope that when you saw me compete, you were encouraged by how I competed and by how I handled myself on and off the field.
I hope that when you bring your kids to the ballpark and see me pitch, you can say to your kids, “If you want to be a pitcher, if you want to be a baseball player, act like that guy, because he does it right.” Because I believe that when I do it right, God says, “That’s where you in your human flesh can represent Me as an image-bearer, where you can reflect Me well. If anybody sees you play, they see Me play.”
That’s my whole goal when I’m out there. At the end of the day, my goal is to feel like I did something that meant something to somebody. Then I can go home at night and sit with my wife and my two (!!!) sons, and I can look at them and know that I reflected God appropriately. And my wife will know that her husband reflects the character of God in whatever he does, and my children will get see that this is what their Dad does. They’ll be proud of me. And that, to me, is fulfillment.