As I was talking to the players and their wives, recruiting the Free2Play team, I focused on helping them understand that there is a very great purpose in playing the game. I explained something significant that I’ve learned. If you’re just playing the game to buy stuff and look good, then it’s not worth it. You’re never going to be fulfilled. And the worst is that you’re going to end up, when the game’s over, saying, “Man, I tanked it. I could have done a lot more with that platform.”
I told them, “You have open access to media, you have open access to fans, you’ve got Twitter and Facebook. You have so much social media, and so many people follow the ballplayer. We need to quit using these opportunities to self-promote.”
I realize that a lot of people are going to tell you to use these opportunities to self-promote, but that’s not what Jesus did. That guy walked on water! You don’t think He could have self-promoted? He could go wherever He wanted to go! But He didn’t self-promote. Instead, He washed His disciples’ feet. He served. He died for us, because He said, “You know what? I love you. And you’re never going to get here without me. I’m going to need to die for you.” And so He took it for us.
He did miracles and signs for the unbeliever too. He understands the mind of man. He understands that we have a see-it-to-believe-it mentality. So He said, “Do you want to see that I’m God? I’m going to show you.” And then He did miracles! Signs and wonders! And those things still take place.
What is the biggest miracle we as ballplayers can do? We can save these kids from these terrible human beings. These kids, overseas, they are screaming out for help. Kids that are here are crying out, “Someone help me!” What do you think it means to them when they see a bunch of ballplayers come together and say, “We understand, we know who you are, we get what’s going on and we’re very aware of it. We’re going to do our best to help you.” That is a gift. That is a miracle.
After all, ballplayers are not supposed to be aware of everybody else. That’s not how we’re regarded by the fans. During a game, we’ll be in the bullpen, and people will look down at us and ooh and ah and then take pictures. Sometimes we feel like we’re caged animals. We feel like putting out a sign that says “Don’t feed the animals,” because we feel like we’re in a zoo. We’re set apart, you know, and so sometimes people don’t see us as normal humans. But we are! We have a purpose too!
Ballplayers can share the love of Jesus by realizing we’ve been given a gift. We are very good at something that the world has deemed as entertaining. We’ve been granted celebrity status. Think of the miracle that we bring within our reach when we look at people and say, “I’m normal just like you. I’m no different. Here’s why.” And we show them the things we’re doing for the least of these.
I told them, “You start doing stuff for the least of these, and that brings you back down to earth. And it keeps you where you need to be. It keeps you focused on God. It keeps you focused on why you’re playing this game. And this is why we need to fight slavery.”
As we do this, we create an opening for God’s justice in the world. More on that next time. See you Saturday.