This is a difficult mission field. There’s a lot of comfort, praise and high self-belief amongst professional athletes. For players to come to know and accept Christ, they almost have to come to a state of brokenness and watch the Lord take over. When they do put their faith in Jesus Christ, you can see a priority shift take place in their life.
I’ve seen a buddy of mine in the minor leagues who was so lost, with no idea what his purpose was in life, come back the next year with a complete direction change. He explained that this game was no longer his identity. He was set to go wherever God would take him. This kind of life-altering change is nothing less than a modern-day miracle.
We live in an environment of so much criticism, performance-focus and stress. As Christ-followers, we are called to love others unconditionally. When you do, they notice you’re different. They see that your words match up with your lifestyle and they want some of it for themselves. But you need to have a consistency in the degree to which you love others; you can’t turn it off and on. I try to be the same person every day. My faith in Christ is unconditional. My faith is not in my health or my baseball career, it’s in Jesus Christ.
Loving others is what we’re called to do. Jesus’ last words on this earth were to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). If this is the case, everywhere we go we are missionaries — at the store, at our work, in our homes. We don’t have to go across the world or country, though the Gospel is needed in those places too. We are constantly on mission because the earth is our mission field.
My friend often talks about having a 10,000-foot perspective. If we take this Kingdom-perspective, we see things from a different angle. Everything we do is affecting the Kingdom of God. Everything we do matters.
When we come from a place of knowing that God has called you out of sin and saved you as His child, you know there’s nothing that can separate you from His love. When you understand this, fear has no place in your life. Yes, we are to fear God and obey Him, but we know that ultimately, there is great grace. And there’s grace for everyone when they come to Him.
— Steven Souza, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder
Steven Souza is a regular contributor of The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions. Check out Steven’s full profile on The Increase: https://theincrease.com/author/stevensouza/
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