Throughout my baseball career, God has continually increased my role in Christian social justice projects. Due to my participation in hunger and abolition initiatives, and after I saw the joy expressed by Ugandan children over clean, clear water, I read about the judgment of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 with fresh eyes. And as I told you last time, this opened me anew to the simple truth of the Gospel. When you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, and you make that dedication to love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, then the Spirit of God becomes alive in you.
That’s when the aroma of Christ will flow out of you. Everywhere you go people will feel something different about you. When you’re at work promoting the care of the least of these, people will wonder why you’re different. When you try to get your business to examine its supply chain for slave labor, people will wonder why you do it. When you see your friends going to strip joints or brothels, and you get them to understand that trafficking could be taking place there, they will wonder what drives you. People are going to look at you and they are going to ask you, “Why do you care?”
That is when you can simply say, “I care, my friend, because I love them. I love the least of these, and they are hungry. I love the least of these, and they are trafficked in sex slavery. I love them and they are forced to work against their will to make our clothes and our shoes.” “But you don’t know them,” people will say. “So why do you love them?” And you will say, “Oh, I know them. I know them because they are Jesus. And I love Jesus.”
I love Jesus! That’s why I fight for justice. That’s how I found my calling as a ballplayer. All I did was to take my talents and add them to my mentality to love my neighbor as myself. I decided that whatever I do, I want to do it well, and that’s for one simple reason. It’s so that I can serve my neighbor. Because when I serve my neighbor, I serve Jesus. I serve the Wounded One, the One that hung on a cross. He was beaten, whipped, nailed, and stabbed. He lay in a grave for three days. He rose again. And I once asked Him, “Why did you do that for me?” And He said, “That’s simple. I did it because I love you.”
He loves me, and I love Him.
You will feel the living Gospel in you when you love your neighbor as He loves us. In Matthew 25, we see that those who inherit the Kingdom are the ones who cared for the “least of these,” because the “least of these” is Jesus. So if you want to love Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, then you will seek out the least of these and you will love them. Because when you feed them, you’ve fed Him. When you rescue them from slavery, you’ve rescued Him.
You might see Him too! The living Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to unify the church, and when that happens, He will return to us. More on this next time. See you Thursday.