Daniel Norris – 2 Peter 3:18

 

Daniel Norris

Detroit Tiger’s Pitcher Daniel Norris.  Photo by Keith Allison

Detroit Tiger’s pitcher Daniel Norris is not exactly your typical baseball player.

He doesn’t play for the money but instead strives to keep his life simple.  He was described by ESPN in an article called Man in the Van as a quirky soul who lives by his own code and as a “hippie who has never tried drugs.”  After signing his first contract, and receiving a $2 million signing bonus, Norris prayed to God that the money didn’t change who he was, made donations to his church and to his parents, and set an $800 a month living allowance for himself.  His dream car is his 1978 VW van!

He doesn’t play for the glory but instead strives to to give all the glory to God.  In fact, he was baptized while wearing his baseball jersey!  He explained his reasoning in an interview with the Christian Chronicle; “God blessed me in my ability to play.  I saw it as kind of a way to show God, ‘hey, I see what You’re doing with baseball.  This is an opportunity to give You glory.”

Norris is definitely not your typical baseball player.  So, who exactly is Daniel Norris according to Daniel Norris?  He defined himself in an interview with New London Red like this; “Well, 1st and foremost I am a Christian who doubles as an athlete, not the other way around… I’m passionate about baseball, surfing, and my relationship with God.  I think that true passion consists of a real deep desire to always get better at something.  To always be in seach of opportunities to improve.  Yea, that’s passion.”  On his instagram page, he sets his goals in life as follows; “In search of 3 things: 1. Eternal life, 2. The Strike Zone, 3. Good waves.  2 Peter 3:18 – just keep livin’ *dirtbag*”

In 2 Peter 3:18, the Apostle Peter offers some final words to his dear brothers and sisters in Christ.  His parting words are “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.  Amen.”  Norris recognizes that his purpose in life is to give God glory in all that he does.  He explains; “2 Peter 3:18 is my life verse and basically it means to me that everything that comes my way is a gift from God and I always give thanks to Him by turning the glory over to Him.”

That should be the goal for each and every one of us; not to live for our own glory or gain, but to do all things for God.  That was Jesus’ goal in His life as well.  He could have lived for His own glory.  He could have fought to establish an earthly kingdom.  He could have allowed His Disciples to worship Him on the Mount of Transfiguration.  But instead, He gave up everything that God the Father might be glorified.  He showed us that this was His purpose during Holy Week.  As Jesus neared the cross, He prayed in Garden of Gethsemane just before being arrested; “I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave me to do.  And now, Father, glorify Me in your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed.”

With Jesus and with Daniel Norris, may we all strive to accomplish the work God gives us to do and humbly and graciously use the blessings He gives us to glorify Him!

Steve Cishek – Colossians 3:23

27554174732_2359a61742_o

Steve Cishek of the Seattle Mariners.  Photo by Laura Smith

When God first gave the Ten Commandments to His people, He also provided the following instructions; And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).  For Seattle Mariner’s pitchers, Steve Cishek, perhaps we should say it a bit differently; write them on a piece of paper, tuck them in your pocket, and carry them to the pitcher’s mound.

Every time Cishek takes the mound, he carries with him a small, square, laminated piece of paper, tattered and wrinkled on the corners.  On that piece of paper are the words of his favorite Bible verse, Colossians 3:23 – whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for a human master.”  Before facing his first batter, he reads these words.  

Cishek explained to mlb.com’s Jenifer Langosch;  “I could recite it in my head, but pulling it out of my back pocket makes me slow down and take my time a little bit when I just want to go, go, go.  I can sit back and read some scripture to really set my mind and get after it with hitters.”  He added in a JesusnSports interview; “It reminds me that when I am pitching, I can’t pitch to impress our coaches of staff or any team mates. I’m working for God’s glory. With good outings or bad outings He doesn’t care how I pitch. No matter what He loves me. So it takes an enormous amount of pressure off me to perform for a crowd or coaches. And good outing or terrible outing I always thank the Lord for what He has done in my life and for allowing for me to play baseball.”

Whatever we do in our lives, we do well to remember God’s Word from Colossians 3.  We should do nothing in life to bring glory to ourselves.  Instead, we should constantly remember that all that we do is for God and His glory.  That’s the model that Jesus set for us.  He came, not to be served, glorified, or honored, but instead He made Himself nothing that we might be saved. Everything that Jesus did, He worked at it with all His heart, as working for the Lord, not for a human master.