Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Josh Hamilton: The real reason for his success

A little background info on Josh's story if you are unfamiliar: In 1999, Josh (right out of high school) was the first overall pick in the MLBaseball amateur draft. Two years later, injury and an addiction to drugs had him out of baseball, separated from his family, and living with his grandmother. While using drugs at his grandmother's house, Josh placed his faith in Jesus. A few years since, Josh is probably the brightest star in baseball right now, he's back with his wife and kids, he has beat his addiction to drugs, and he's crediting God for it all every time someone asks about his incredible comeback.

It really is a great story.

Let me first say I love to watch Josh play, and I root for him in the box scores every day I get a chance to check out some scores. I think he is genuine, and I know God is using him for the Kingdom. That being said...

Be careful with confusing his conversion for the real reason Josh is a superstar in the big leagues right now. What is the real reason he's so dang good? Because he's extremely talented. I've heard people say that going into the draft as a high school athlete, Josh had more talent then any scout had seen since Alex Rodriguez.

Common sense would tell us that even someone with this kind of talent would struggle to have success while injured and/or strung out on drugs. Common sense would also tell us that if this player got cleaned up and healthy, he'd probably be pretty stinking good. That is what has happened. Josh did not receive unbelievable baseball abilities the moment he prayed to Jesus.

Should God receive the credit? Absolutely! God gave him great athletic abilities, put him in an environment where his talent was nurtured, and finally God gave Josh victory over the things that were disabling him (drugs & injuries).

The reason for this post is not to diminish the Glory of God in what Josh is doing, but to say, "be careful" to those who've become infatuated with this Christian man's success instead of his faith.

Be careful that you don't start to believe that a true faith in Jesus will make you hit home runs, hit for average, make sick plays in the outfield, and dominate pitchers. God doesn't change your genes when you place your faith in Him. If you were 5 foot nothing before Jesus, you'll probably still be 5 foot nothing once you've met the Savior.

God can do all things, I got it, but remember that He is carrying out His will for us and not granting us our wishes like a genie in a lamp. God's will for your life may include success in business, success in sports, or popularity, but it also may involve cancer, poverty, or persecution. In fact Paul says we should expect to suffer as Christians.

I think especially in sports, people are open to hearing about God because they are looking for an edge. They want good fortune, good luck, and God's favor on the field. It doesn't work that way.

You may be like Job, and have everything taken away from you for the purpose of God proving Himself to be "all you need." You may be like Solomon, and have all the riches and power imaginable for the purpose of God revealing that all of this "stuff" is vanity and unable to satisfy us apart from God. Either way, God is all you need.

God is at work in Josh Hamilton, and He has chosen to use baseball success to bring God glory. God is at work in many others that are bringing God glory by persevering through cancer, depression, learning disabilities, persecution, bullies, slumps, losing seasons, abuse, broken homes, and poverty.

Faith in Jesus is acknowledging that He is all you need. Faith in Jesus is not a rabbit's foot that will bring you good luck.

1 comment:

Chris from Ontario said...

I saw the homerun derby tonight and i saw his interview. Praise God for what He has done in Josh's life and i am know God is going to use him to touch and speak to many athletes in the years to come. I had not heard his story until tonight and its amazing. Keep on serving God Josh, you are being an incredible witness.