Brian Harper

Have there ever been times in your life when you felt like quitting?

Ten years into my professional baseball career, I thought about giving up. During that time I had played with five different organizations, bouncing between triple-A and major league level, and had never won a starting position.

Instead of throwing my hands up in despair, I persevered and eventually won a starting spot with the Minnesota Twins. It goes to show that hard work and endurance pays off. But I had a higher motive to keep on doing my best.

My goal was to be a major-leaguer

I loved baseball as a child, and I knew I wanted to be a professional player at the age of five. I avoided drugs and alcohol in school because I knew they would destroy my body.

In my senior year at San Pedro (CA) High School, I was an All-League and All-State player and was selected in the fourth round of the June 1997 draft by my favorite ballclub, the California Angels. I signed right out of school and played my first year of pro ball with Idaho Falls.

While I was there, I roomed with a player who read the Bible. One day I asked him why he read it. He quoted the verse from John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, and whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life."

When I was a sophomore in high school, my best friend died in a car accident. Since that time I wondered what happened to people when they passed on.

I asked my roommate to tell me more about this everlasting life. He told me it was a free gift from God, and all I had to do to receive it (Romans 6:23).

All along I believed God existed but never knew much about Him. What my teammate pointed out looked and sounded pretty good, so I decided to put my faith in God even though I didn't fully understand who Jesus was or what the Bible had to say.

For nearly three years, I used God as a good-luck charm, hoping He would make me do better. I later discovered He doesn't work that way.

In 1980 I had a stress fracture in my arm which threatened my career. The only thing I could think was, "What am I going to do if I don't play baseball?" At that point I finally realized that baseball was my top priority in life.

I had to change my priorities

Looking back, I fully believe in my heart that God brought me to the point where I had to rearrange my priorities. It was as if He was saying to me, "What's more important to you, me or baseball?"

In Matthew 16:26 it says, "For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?" In other words, what good will it do me to gain baseball fame and fortune and forfeit the joy of spending eternity with God in heaven.

The injury was the real turning point in my life. I no longer had control of the situation and had to trust God to work things out. I decided to put Him first, my family second and my career third on my priority list. As it turned out, I not only got back to playing baseball, but I became a better player and had a greater sense of peace and happiness in my heart.

After a five-year stint in the Angels organization, I played with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1982 to 1984. The following year I was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1986 I played for the Detroit Tigers, then became a member of the Oakland A's in 1987 before signing with the Twins in 1988. I feel blessed to be a major-league ballplayer and consider myself fortunate to have experienced success. I not only participated in the 1985 world series as a member of the Cardinals, but I also helped the Twins win the dramatic 1991 World Series.

If you would like to know more about Jesus and what He can do for you, just click the button on the left side of your screen to change your life.