Kershaw Pitches With a Purpose
Today marks opening day for many teams throughout Major League Baseball. In Los Angeles, the Dodgers will be beginning their season with a starting lineup they think will give them the best chance to win. The best man they see, as well as everyone else, of giving them the best chance of winning is the 3 time Cy Young award winner and returning MVP pitcher, Clayton Kershaw. While his name has become synonymous with Major League Baseball since his breakout year in 2011, many may not know that Clayton has a much greater purpose for playing than receiving accolades and trophies. While some 56,000 people will be most assuredly cheering on Kershaw, Clayton has made it clear that he plays for an audience of 1.
In a interview for the release of his biography Arise: Live Out Your Faith on Whatever Field You Find Yourself , Kershaw stated,“For me, everything I do has a purpose to it beyond what’s in this lifetime.”
While Clayton may be a more reserved type when it comes to his personality, he has made it abundantly clear that his life’s goal is to fulfill the will of Christ.
“It is good to know the Lord gives us a lifetime to work out our identities and sort out who we are in Christ. His calling for our lives will undoubtedly compete with daily struggles of temptation to take an easier path. The battle to maintain a Christ-centered identity is the most worthy fight we will face.”
But don’t think that Kershaw is the only one in California looking to earn an MVP and bring people to Christ. Golden State Warrior and NBA All-Star Steph Curry, who many believe is the front-runner for MVP, stated of his true purpose in the NBA:
“I know why I play the game, and it’s not to score 30 points a night, but it’s to use the stage I’m on. I’ve been put here for a specific purpose: to be a witness and to share my testimony as I go through it.”
He recognizes that he has been given a wonderful platform and that there are much more important things than your points per game average. It is extremely refreshing to see young men who are not ashamed of the gospel, regardless of how the culture is deciding to go. He see’s that there is a trophy that nobody can take away from him:
“the Man who died for our sins on the cross. I know I have a place in Heaven waiting for me because of Him, and that’s something no earthly prize or trophy could ever top.” -Steph Curry
His behavior has not been something that everyone is missing. His peers recognize the kind of character that he has shown and love the stances that he takes. His former coach Mark Jackson said of him, “It’s a great testament to who he is and the God he serves. He comes from a great background and has a great foundation. I made sure to go to his parents and thank them for the way they raised him.”
Before I was a Christian myself, I read the book “Field of Hope”, an autobiography of my favorite Dodger growing up, Brett Butler. While I wouldn’t know it then, his book would have a lasting effect on my life. Brett spoke of the troubles that alcohol brought into his life and that it was Christ who would be the one who saved him. He spoke of turmoils with his family because of alcohol and that it almost tore them apart. I lived out a similar situation in my life and praise God, Jesus was the only one who could cure me as well! While winning a world title would be awesome to witness, it is much more refreshing to see God use these mens talents to bring a message of hope to their many fans.
For the Christian, we must realize that God calls our conduct to be such that we do not cause anyone to stumble. He also calls us to use the platforms that He gives us in our lives to preach the gospel. It was not an unusual thing for God to use sports references in His word to help instruct us. God even spoke of the spectacle known as the Grecian games that occurred during biblical times to help make statements of our walk with Christ. Similar to the Olympics today, these games were established 776 B.C. The people in Biblical times would be well aware of the games and they are referenced multiple times in Paul’s letters and elsewhere found in the Bible.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us
But don’t think that athletes are the only ones with an audience. Each and every one of us have the ability to share the gospel with people, even if it isn’t to millions of people all over the world. God’s word says
“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).
The only question is, what kind of letter are you going to be?