David Ross is a retired professional baseball player with two significant World Series victories on his resume. In 2013, Ross drove in a winning run in game 5 and started as catcher in the clinching game 6 of the Boston Red Sox World Series win. In 2016, Ross played a key role in the Chicago Cubs first world series victory since 1908. His final at bat was a home run in the seventh game of the series.
His life seems to be the stuff of baseball fantasy and stardom, but it wasn’t always that way. After Ross reported for duty to the Boston Red Sox, General Manager Theo Epstein pulled him aside for a heart-to-heart talk. Ross had developed a reputation for being self-centered, temperamental and arrogant. Epstein asked Ross who he was playing the game for: himself or the team?
That conversation changed David Ross’ life. He was crushed when he heard how people viewed him. It was devastating to hear that his attitude was hurting his team’s efforts rather than helping them. That day, David Ross was transformed. He became a humble and selfless baseball player. He was determined to be all about the team—because only a team could win the biggest prize in baseball.
His change helped two storied baseball teams attain what was thought to be impossible.
Theo Epstein’s question is a good one for each one of us as we follow Jesus Christ and serve Him. Who are you doing this for? Are you in it for yourself, for your satisfaction, your preferences, your attention, your accomplishments and your goals? Or, are you serving Jesus Christ for the team—for His Church, the people for whom He gave His life?
After James and John lobbied for prime places in Jesus’ kingdom (Matthew 20), Jesus clarified who we’re in this for. He included Himself when He declared, “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
Sometimes, as David Ross experienced, we need a gut-check about our motives and attitudes. Does the world see the church as self-centered, temperamental and arrogant, or are we seen as team players doing our all to bring God’s precious people to Jesus’ blood-bought victory?
By: Rev. Michael W. Newman
Mission & Ministry Facilitator, Area C