Chris Heisey – Philippians 2:3-4

Chris Heisey

Chris Heisey, now with the Minnesota Twins – photo by Keith Allison

At the time of this post, the Washington Nationals are in the 2016 Divisional Playoffs, one win away from advancing to the National League Championship Series.  It’s a glorious time to be a Washington National.

But for National’s outfielder Chris Heisey, life hasn’t always been glorious.  He has a different word he uses to describe his roots; humble.

Chris Heisey considers himself to be a regular kid from a regular family.  He grew up in Mount Joy, PA and was the son of two loving Christian parents, Craig and Linda.  Heisey says of his childhood in an interview with Beyond the Ultimate; “I grew up going to church every Sunday.  Ever since I can remember, even when I’d wake up to go to school, my mom would have a Bible verse on the table with the Bible flipped open.  So it was a non-stop reminder of who I was living for, and how to represent Christ as I was going to school or going to hand out with my friends.”

Growing up, sports always played a large role in Chris’ life.  “I had a bat in my hand when I was about two years old, and my parents were a big part of introducing me to sports and being active.”  Chris played baseball in high school and was the top player on his team, but he never really caught anyone’s attention.  He didn’t receive any Division I scholarship offers.  He wasn’t attracting big league scouts.  A career in baseball wasn’t even on his radar.

Instead, Heisey planned to go to a nearby Christian college, Messiah College.  He hoped to play baseball while he attended school, graduate, and become an elementary school teacher.  Seeking the glory of Major League Baseball wasn’t even on his radar.

It was Heisey’s best friend and college teammate who had the big dreams.  He wanted to make it to the majors and play for the Padres.  He went to open tryout camps the summer after he and Heisey’s freshmen year to try to garner some attention from pro scouts.  Heisey went along with him.

The following summer, Heisey learned that he’d been drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 17th Round of the 2006 Amateur Baseball Draft.  Heisey recalls; It was a shock; I didn’t expect it to happen.  It was something I prayed about, and felt like I might not get the opportunity ever again to go after this dream.  I decided, ‘Hey, this may end up working out.  I may get to play in the big leagues.’  He added in an interview with Steve King for his Messiah College newspaper; “You have [to] work hard and keep Christ as your focus.  To be honest, I didn’t’ think I had much of [a] shot to be an MLB player, but I continued to work hard.  If you fall short, you’ll still end up in a great place with Christ as the center.”

Just like his amateur career, his minor league career got off to a humble beginning.  He was far from appearing on Baseball America’s top 100 prospect lists.  He didn’t even appear on Cincinnati Reds top 30 lists.  He flew under the radar for several seasons in the lower levels of the Reds organization.

That all changed in 2009.  Heisey hit a combined .314 with 22 home runs, 77 RBIs and a .900 OPS.  His performance led him to win the Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award as the Reds minor league player of the year.  In 2010, Heisey’s distant dream of becoming a Major League baseball became a reality; from humble beginnings to the big show.

But one thing that never changed was the humility.  Throughout his career, Heisey has been continually complemented on his character.  Jamie Ramsey of mlb.com says of him; “He’s an honest and wholesome man, a man of God, who feels he can also do better in life.  Humble, yet competitive, Heisey has the qualities of a Frank Capra character- a role model, not just for kids, but for adults alike.”  When Heisey was playing for the Reds, the Red Reporter blog informed their readers that “aside from his still-emerging talent, Reds fans should feel privileged to root for Heisey, who exudes humility and class.”  Even Heisey’s High School basketball team bus driver had the desire to chime in; “Chris is such an inspiration to all who know him… not because he is a major league baseball player, but because he is a good man, [and an] awesome son who helps his mom every chance he gets… [a] devoted husband to his wife Lisa and great friend all around.  His humble attitude is real folks… what you see is what you get with Chris… They don’t come any better!”

Humility is important to Heisey.  He told Beyond the Ultimate that one of his favorite Bible verses is Philippians 2:3-4; Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  He explains; Being humble is something that we’re called to do.  It’s pretty easy for me not to have a ‘big head’ because I’m just Chris Heisey, the same guy who was going to college to become a school teacher.  Just because I happened to get lucky and worked hard and got to the big leagues doesn’t mean I need to change that.”  Deep down, Heisey feels like the same guy he was when his baseball life humbly began in Mount Joy, PA.  He told Messiah College Assistant Athletic Director Cory Furman; “I’m not good at estimating, but I figure I’ve signed over 15,000 autographs during all of this.  I just don’t understand why anyone would want my autograph.  Because I can hit a ball?  It seems to me we should be getting the autographs of teachers, who make a difference to so many people, or doctors who save peoples’ lives.”

It’s easy to get caught up in the quest for glory.  Chris Heisey sets a beautiful example for us that we should all strive instead to be humility.  After all, that’s what Jesus did.  Philippians 2 goes on to say; Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by become obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.   That’s humility.  Jesus did nothing for His own glory, but gave up everything to save you!  May we all live for others as Jesus lived and died for us!

 

Chris Coghlan – Ephesians 2:8

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Chris Coghlan of the Chicago Cubs.  Photo by John

Chris Coghlan’s life was an ugly mess.

It hadn’t started that way.   Chris was born in 1985, in Rockville, Maryland, to loving parents Tim and Heather Coghlan.  His dad was a police officer.  His mother was a teacher.  They were both hard workers.  Chris had good relationship with his brother, Kevin, and his sisters Katie and Kelly.  When Chris was 9, he moved with his family to Florida.  They were a regular, blue collar family, who loved each other and enjoyed life.

On June 5th, 2001, that all changed.  One evening, Chris was out, having just finished exams, and came home to find a large group of family and friends gathered in his home.  One look at his mother’s face, and he knew right away that something was wrong – that something had happened to his father.  He soon heard the tragic news that his father had been killed in a car accident.

From that moment, his life because an ugly mess.  His once happy home was now filled with tears and sadness.  He didn’t want to be there, so he found a place of refuge; the baseball field.  He recalls in an interview with I AM SECOND, that he would hide out there for hours, just “hitting, and fielding, and hitting, and hitting, and hitting.”  But that couldn’t fill the void in his heart.  When he turned 16, he started drinking.  He started feeling entitled and acting selfishly – like the world owed him something.  He began making bad decisions.  He recalls; “My dad had always taught me what was right and wrong, but I felt like this excuse that everybody felt sorry for me; that I could do whatever I wanted because I had the best excuse.  My world sucked at that time, so I just kept playing baseball and I kept doing the same thing.”

On the inside, Coghlan was an ugly mess.  But on the baseball field, everything looked beautiful.  Coghlan was a star on the field and he was rewarded for it.  In 2003, he was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 18th round of the draft.  He opted not to sign, and instead to accept a scholarship to the University of Mississippi.  He put together a pristine baseball resume; SEC All Freshman team in 2004.  SEC All-Conference second team in 2005.  NCAA 3rd team All-American in 2006.   Then, in 2006, Coghlan was drafted again – this time in the 1st Round by the Florida Marlins.  His dream had come true, and he thought he had everything he wanted.  His success continued, earning him his first invitation to Major League camp for Spring Training in 2008.  Everything seemed beautiful.

It wasn’t.

One night, Coghlan was out late drinking.  He says that – even though he was a professional baseball player with a bright future in front of him, he was so insecure that he had to get drunk just to approach a girl.  He was terrified of being rejected.  He came to camp the next day hung over, reeking of booze, and feeling awful.  Unable to concentrate, he was goofing around, and tried to throw a curve ball – a pitch he doesn’t know how to throw.  The ball sailed out of his hand, flew 90 feet or so away, and hit All-Star Second Baseman Dan Uggla in the cup.  He got yelled out.  He suddenly couldn’t field.  He couldn’t hit.  The next day, he got sent down to the minors.  The one word he used to describe himself was this; “empty.”

Chris Coghlan’s life was an ugly mess.  But God was about to do something beautiful.

Coghlan was walking through the clubhouse one day during minor league camp when he saw teammate Daron Roberts doing something unexpected.  He was carrying a Bible.  “I asked him, I said, ‘what are you reading,’ but I knew he was reading a Bible – I just wanted to see if he was realling going to tell me “yes, I’m reading a Bible.’   He said, ‘are you a man of faith?’  And I said, I’m not.  I believe that there’s a God, but by no means and I living for Him.”

Later that day, Coghlan was out on one of the back fields.  He had chosen not to wear his cleats.  His coach called him out on it, but Coghlan wasn’t about to go run all the way across the fields to get his cleats.  But then, Daron Roberts did something else unexpected.  He ran all the way back to the clubhouse, got Coghlan’s cleats, and ran them all the way back to him.  Coghlan was baffled.  Why would someone he didn’t even know do something like that?  He knew Roberts was different.  He just didn’t know why.

Robert’s act of kindness led to a brief conversation about family.  That conversaton led to an invitation to dinner on St. Patrick’s Day.  That St. Patrick’s Day dinner led to a cup of coffee at Starbucks.  That cup of coffee led to a two hour conversation about the Word of God.

Many Bible Verses were read at that Starbucks.  One of them was Ephesians 2:8.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God, not by works so no one can boast.’  Coghlan explained in an interview with Bruce Darnall; That was a huge turning point for me.  Everywhere in this world the message is you have to earn your way to ‘wherever.’  So it seemed just too easy for this great gift of heaven that God promises, but I wanted it.”

That conversation changed Coghlan’s life.  As Coghlan explained in his I AM SECOND interview; “I realized at that time that I wanted God.  I wanted Jesus.  I wanted Him in my life.  I was tired of chasing the wind.  I was tired of chasing these temporary satisfactions that I was having and realizing that every night I really had an empty feeling.  I had an empty feeling inside and I was trying to fill this void with these earthly things – with baseball…  And I wanted God and I wanted Jesus…”

Chris Coghlan was a changed man!  On May 8, 2009, he made his major league debut.  By the end of the season, he was named the National League Rookie of the Year!

Chris Coghlan’s life had once been an ugly mess.  Now?  In a way, it still is.  Coghlan explained to Blessed 2 Play; “I still have sin.  I still have things that I desire for my flesh…  It’s not a testament of what I’ve done…”   He added in an interview with Tom Rust at Face to Face; “To God, it’s not about performing.  And that’s what I love about God.  I just thank Him that He loves all of us so much that He doesn’t love us based on our performance.  Whether I get 3 hits or whether I do something wrong or sin, or whatever it is,   It’s not a performance based love.  And unfortunately, as humans, we love on performance, and that is what is so great about God’s grace and love is that He doesn’t work on that same frequency.

Coghlan came to learn that God loves us, not because of how  beautifully we may live, but in spite of our sin.  He explained to Bruce Darnell; “There is a price to be paid for our sin, and Jesus Christ paid the price on the Cross.  It is a free gift of salvation…  You can do nothing to pretty yourself.  God loves you right where you are.  Let God do the work in your heart…  The Lord has just done mighty things in my life by chiseling away at my heart, revealing sin to me.  I just prayed for new convictions.  It has been a tough journey, but I feel that is the Christian life.  I am grateful that I am one of His!” 

As sinners, each of us is an ugly mess who can do nothing to pretty ourselves. But, by His death on the cross for us, Jesus has washed away all of our filthy, dirty, ugly sin, and has made us beautiful in God’s sight!  No matter how ugly and worthless you may feel on the inside, that’s how you look to God!  God’s children are described in the Bible this way in 1 Peter 2:4; rejected by men, but in the sight of God, chosen and precious.

Jeanmar Gomez – Joshua 1:9

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Unlikely Closer Jeanmar Gomez.  Photo by Erik Drost

Jeanmar Gomez was not supposed to be the closer for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2016.

It was supposed to be Ken Giles.  But in December of 2015, Giles was traded to the Houston Astros for a group of prosects which included Vince Velasquez, Mark Appel, Brett Oberholtzer, and Harold Arauz.  After Giles was traded, the Phillies found themselves in need of a new closer.

The new closer was supposed to be David Hernanez.  Hernandez got his crack at the job on Opening Day against the Reds.  He entered the 8th inning with a 2-1 lead, only to allow 3 runs without recording a single out.

Perhaps, then, it would be Dalier Hinojosa.  Hinojosa got his opportunity the on the second game of the season.  He also entered the game with a 2-1 lead over the Reds.  His resultes weren’t much better, as he recorded only one out before allowing 2 runs.

Perhaps the Phillies closer would be Andrew Bailey or Edward Mujica.  Only, after rough springs, neither of them made the big league club.

Perhaps it would be Hector Neris.  Maybe James Russell.

Or, better yet, perhaps it would just be better not to even have one!  John Stolnis of the Phillie’s blog “The Good Phight,” wrote an article in March entitled “Phillies closer-less bullpen can kill the “save.”  He quoted Phillies manager Pete Mackanin as saying this; “Unless I’m 100 percent sure about somebody that I want to call a closer, I’m not going to call anybody a closer.  When you think about it, a closer is somebody you can count on in the ninth inning…  We probably have one.  I’m hoping we have one.  But I’m not going to name one right now.  Just to call a guy a closer doesn’t mean anything.”  Maybe “no one” was better than the options they had.

It turns, though, that Mackinin did have a closer in his clubhouse.  He had a guy he could count on in the ninth.  He had a guy who would become only the 11th man in Phillies history to record 30 saves.  Mackinin had Jeanmar Gomez.

You can’t really fault Mackinin for not seeing what he head in Gomez.  He lacks the typical characteristics closers usually possess.  While most closers have dominant fastballs, Stolnis wrote of Gomez in the preseason; “Jeanmar Gomez doesn’t have the stuff to close…”  While many closers are strikeout pitchers, Gomez is more of a ground ball pitcher.  Pitching coach Bob McClure says of him; “To me, he’s almost like a strikeout pitcher.  With a strikeout pitcher, you’re always thinking, ‘All right, he’ll get a strikeout here and be out of trouble.’ With Jeanmar, you’re thinking ‘All right, he’ll get a ground ball, we’ll get a double play and be out of trouble.’ That’s how well he commands his sinker.”  While many closers have fiery personalities, Gomez is one of the quietest guys in the clubhouse.  Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly says of him; “if humility were a fastball, he’d hit triple digits on the radar gun.” While many closers pump themselves up with heavy metal or energetic hip-hop, Gomez relies on light Christian rock.

Gomez doesn’t have your typical closer stuff.  What he does have, though, is a quiet calm about him.  Jim Salisbury said of him, Gomez has another weapon as closer: his composure.  The ninth inning can fray the nerves of even the most seasoned baseball man.  Sometimes you wonder if Gomez even has a pulse.

Where does it all come from?  Where does Gomez find his strength and his peace?  It all comes from God!  Gomez confesses; “I’m a quiet guy, but I trust in God, and He does the rest.” Before coming to the mound, he says a prayer.  I ask God to take control.  That enables me to stay calm.  Gomez also reads the Bible every day.  One of his favorite passages is Josua 1:9; Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  He explains that “when you have Jesus in your heart you have to be humble.  When He came to earth He wanted simplicity for us.  That enables you to serve others.

Gomez’ story teaches us a valuable truth about Jesus.  Going into the season, no one seemed to recognize who he was or what he could do.  When Jesus began His ministry, few seemed to recognize who He was or what He was going to do either.  As Isaiah 53:2 says about Him; For He grew up before Him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He had no form of majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him.  And yet, Jesus remained strong and courageous.  He calmly and faithfully did the work that God sent Him to accomplish, living the perfect life and going to the cross to pay for our sins.  And, as Gomez does, Jesus did in quietly.  Isaiah 53:7 goes on to say of Jesus; He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.

Calmly, faithfully, quietly, Jesus closed out our salvation.  He won for us eternal life dying on the cross to pay for our sins and conquering our death.  Eternal life became a sure thing as Jesus declared a closer’s words with His dying breath; it is finished!

Collin McHugh – Jeremiah 29:12-15

Collin McHugh delivers a pitch during ALDS Game 1.

Collin McHugh of the Houston Astros – photo by Arturo Pardavila III

Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, New York, Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, Venezuela.

10 States.  2 Countries.  Packing and moving 19 different times.

Collin McHugh’s situation wasn’t exactly what you would call stable.

McHugh was drafted by the New York Mets in the 18th round of the 2008 amateur draft.  With that, the whirlwind began.  He spent the next five years moving up and down within the Met’s farm system.  He played in Kingsport, TN; Brooklyn, NY; Savannah, GA; Port St. Lucie, FL; Birmingham, NY; Buffalo, NY; Las Vegas, NV; not to mention Fall ball in Peoria, AZ and Winter League in Caracas, Venezuelez.  It was exhausting.  He almost quit.  McHugh said in an interview with Sports Spectrum; “I was just tired and lonely, and over it.  I was just sitting there on my front porch and was thinking to myself, ‘This is it, I’ve got my bags packed and I’m ready to go.’”  McHugh’s wife, family, and friends encouraged him otherwise.  “Stick it out through the rest of this year. “Re-evaluate once the season is over.”  McHugh took their advice, and eventually was rewarded with some playing time with the Mets.  Only, it didn’t last.

In 2013, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies, and the carousel of his life started all over again.  Over next 6 months, he’d hop back and forth between from Tulsa, OK, Colorado Springs, and the big league Rockies in Denver.

It was tough.  He missed his family and friends.  He missed birthdays and weddings; the birth of his niece.  But, most of all, he missed his wife, Ashley.  “Most of all, it’s guilt…  It just starts to wear on you after a while; and when things are going poorly on the field, that’s when everything starts to culminate.”

McHugh’s Christian Faith helped him get through the hard times.  One of the Bible passages he clung to most was Jeremiah 29:12-15; “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.’”

I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you.  Places like Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, New York, Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, and Venezuela.

“For me, it always came back to the promise in Jeremiah, and a promise in my life that He has proved over and over again in every big decision I’ve had to make.  When God says, ‘Seek me with all of your heart,’ literally every big decision I’ve had to make—where I’m asking God for wisdom for just a clear head about things—it always comes back to, ‘Seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all of your heart, and I will be found by you.’ Just the idea that God is never far off—His answer is never far off, even if things look super weird, like nothing is ever going to work out, the reality is that we will always have that line of communication with Him. It’s never cloaked, and it’s not conditional; it’s just the best, and it’s better than anything you can ask for. For me, that’s something I’ve always been able to go back to.”

God’s answer wasn’t far off.  In the winter of 2013, God called Collin McHugh out of exile.  In December, McHugh was claimed off waivers by the Houston Astros, and his life changed forever.  After a quick AAA stint in Oklahoma City, he was called up to the big league club in Houston, where he would remain on the big league club for 2 years and counting!

Looking back now on the struggles he faced, McHugh sees how he grew in his faith, and learned to trust in God in good times and bad.  He puts it this way in a video interview on mlb.com;

“In baseball, you tend to get knocked down a lot.  There’s a lot of failure.  There’s a lot of struggle…  My wife, Ashley and I were married throughout much of my minor league career, so she saw it first hand, and there are plenty of times our marriage was just hanging by a thread.

Just always understand that whatever circumstances are happening in life, God uses them in certain ways to bring you back, not just to bring you back to high moral ground or to make you do the right things and say the right things.  But remind you that you are taken care of; that you are loved; that you are precious in His sight.  And, in the dark times – in the times where things are rough and you’re kind of sitting there in silence wondering ‘what is going on around me?’  ‘How is this ever gonna get any better?’  A lot of times in my life it’s the only time I really hear Him clearly.  And, unfortunetly, a lot of times it’s when things are the worst – but I would never change it.  I would never ask for anything different because there’s nothing better in my life than hearing God and understanding His love for me on every different level.”

We all have times in life in which we feel like we’re in exile; when we’re far away from where we want to be.  In those moments, remember what God did for His people, when He called them out of exile and brought them back to the Promised Land.  Remember what He did for Collin McHugh, calling him out of the whirlwind and into Houston.  Remember all the times that God has helped you through hard times already, and look forward to His promise to always help His people.  As God says in Jeremiah 29:11; For I know the plans I have you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and hope.  May we always cling to that promise!

Daniel Norris – 2 Peter 3:18

 

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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

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Steve Cishek, Relief Pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays.  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.