Baseball is a unique platform because we have fans from all over that come to watch the games. If I can live out my Christian life through baseball, allowing others to see Christ in me, then I’m able to use this platform for God’s glory.
But that doesn’t apply only to my life on the baseball field. I can be a witness for Christ at the grocery store in the same way I can on the pitching mound — neither arena is more important than the other. The only difference is that with baseball there are a lot more people watching.
My perspective in life changed when I decided to fully give my all to Christ in 2012. Since then, I’ve realized that for every person I pass by, whether they are a fan or a homeless person on the street, I may be the only chance they have to see Christ. That’s a huge responsibility as well as an amazing opportunity.
“I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” — Philippians 4:13
Baseball has always been my passion. When I was 7 years old, I looked at my dad and told him that I wanted to be a major league pitcher. My dad said, “OK, I’ll help you as long as you continue to enjoy it.” Since that day, my parents have always been supportive and encouraging in my pursuit of a baseball career.
Two things that I’ve learned from the game of baseball are hard work and dedication. I would never have gotten this far in my baseball career if my work ethic didn’t grow and keep growing. I’ve always been willing to do whatever it takes in order to get the job done. Whether that be in-season or offseason, I’ve learned to be dedicated to the game.
I think that’s a great life lesson and something I will take into my career after baseball as well. It’s a lesson I’ve applied to my faith walk.
There was a time, however, when I might have been too dedicated to the game of baseball. I was so drawn into this game that my relationships suffered and I sacrificed almost everything to be the best I could be.
I still love the game and give my all while I’m on the field, but once I began to take my walk with Christ more seriously, I realized that baseball is what I do, it’s not who I am. I still work hard to be the best player I can be, but I do that because God’s called me to do that, and I love it. I consider it a blessing, but not my identity.
God’s given each of us a different talent and we’re supposed to use those talents to glorify Him. As I play and perform at my best, I know that I’m honoring the One who gave me that talent, and it’s a joy to do so.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” — 1 Peter 4:10
— J.J. Hoover, pro baseball pitcher
Check out J.J.’s full profile on The Increase: https://theincrease.com/author/jj-hoover/
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