I am writing this Friday night at 4:36 p.m. Two hours from now, to the minute, the pitcher will stretch. He will then pray, “Lord, whatever happens, be with me.” And at 7:09 p.m. the madness will begin. Another post-season championship series, last stop before the World Series.
Leading the way in Game 1 for Los Angeles Dodgers will be this pitching machine, this man of faith. What this pitcher believes is that his performance tonight is not about pleasing his team owner or manager, not his teammates, not his fans. No, tonight, like every night, is about pleasing God, about not wasting the talent God gave him.
This pitcher is one of the greats in the current era of major league baseball. He has won many awards and carries a lifetime set of statistics to back up his belief that God is behind the talent in his left arm. That’s why this pitcher carries in his mind his favorite verse: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…”(Colossians 3:23). For this pitcher the old pitcher’s excuse, “I executed the pitch really well”, will never be applied to his performance. His goal is ‘outs’, not ‘hits’.
So, a little after 1 p.m. today, Clayton Kershaw entered Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, on a mission to use that talent God has given him to give glory to God. He won’t be pointing towards heaven on a big strikeout; he will let his pitching do the work of pointing to God.
I am writing this post a couple hours before the game begins because I don’t know how charitable I can be towards him if Mr. Kershaw emerges victorious. He won’t say that God is a Dodgers fan, but neither will I say God is a Brewers fan. But God probably loves us relishing a well-pitched championship game.
Win or lose, Mr. Kershaw knows one thing: as he walks to the mound tonight God is with him. “I know he’s already there.” I want Mr. Kershaw to know God is pleased with him. I know he wants to be perfect. He probably won’t be. But, that doesn’t mean God left the mound. Play ball!
(Source: The Control Pitcher, Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated, May 7, 2018)