From Head to Heart
Unlike many other aspiring ballplayers, my dream is not to make the big leagues. My dream is to serve Christ. If I make the big leagues, I'll be excited. If it doesn't happen, I'll be just as excited because I know that no matter what happens, and no matter where I am, I'll have an opportunity to serve Jesus.
I grew up in a Christian home. And for this reason I thought I was a Christian. After all, I went to church, I had some knowledge of the Bible, and I knew that God wanted to have a relationship with me.
However, I was only going through the motions. I was at church every week and tried to do the right things, thinking that's what I was supposed to do. I had knowledge of God in my head, but not in my heart. I knew Bible verses, but they didn't really make much sense to me.
Then, while at a 1993 summer church retreat, I committed my life to serving Jesus . I began to change. I was still doing many of the same things, like going to church, praying and reading the Bible, but now I had an entirely different motivation. I was doing those things not because I felt I was supposed to, but because I wanted to. As my favorite Bible verse (1 Peter 1:8) mentions, I found an inexpressible and glorious joy.
Joy that gives power
That joy has been my strength over the last years. I was a walk-on at Pepperdine University. I made the team but didn't play much until halfway through my
junior year. My role was to keep the bench nice and warm. However, I used that as an opportunity to minister to my teammates. God put me there to share Christ with them, and in some ways it was easier to do on the bench than when I became a starter.
And the joy that I have in my relationship with Jesus has given me security in who I am and made me comfortable with the way I am. I am not an intimidating person, and I don't really look like a typical ball player. I am little and I look young, which often gets me confused with the bat-boys. Despite all this I know God made me this way, and He had a good reason. He always does. And knowing that gives me great confidence as a person, an athlete, and a Christian.
Drafted by God
I thought my baseball career was over after college. My idea was to go into some form of professional ministry after graduation. Shortly after I received my college degree, I was drafted by the Texas Rangers, and I was very surprised.
At that point I had already decided that if I was drafted, I would sign. I studied the Old Testament prophet, Daniel, and related my situation to his. I knew I got drafted because God wanted me to go somewhere and serve Him where it wasn't necessarily easy to be a Christian.
Honestly, it's not easy to be a Christian playing professional baseball, just like it's not always easy to be a Christian in many other jobs, careers or positions in life. My faith is challenged on a daily basis. But with every challenge God is with me and has given me everything I need.
You might think that because I am playing my favorite sport as a career, I feel blessed. Well, I am blessed, but not because I'm playing ball. I'm blessed because I know that I can always rely on God, that He turns every situation into something good, and that I will always be able to rest in His grace.
I am living my dream just by being a Christian. Best of all, I am sharing the dream with my best friend and my Savior, Jesus Christ.
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