The 2014 MLB season for the New York Yankees has been a farewell tour for their captain, Derek Jeter. He was given all kinds of different gifts as he went into each stadium through out the year. His gifts ranged from cowboy hats and boots to surf boards to a bronzed bat to donations to his charitable organization, and the list goes on. At one time the manager of the Yankees said that he thought he was supposed to be managing to win, not making sure Jeter played in every game. For all of the Yankee fans, this season was a disappointment as they failed to reach the play-offs for only the third time in the past 20 years. The one aspect of this year, especially the last couple of weeks of the season, that caught my attention was the re2pect that the baseball community along with everyone else paid to The Captain.
Other people have had better career numbers than Jeter. Other players have had better range as a short stop and a stronger arm. Others have played as long as he has, while some even played longer. What made this year long celebration so much different than any other? Why would the opposing teams, including their number one rival The Red Sox, give Jeter a standing ovation when he came to the plate to bat? Why did teams give him such elaborate gifts and honor him in so many ways this year?
- He played the game the same every day. It did not matter if it was a World Series game or the first game of the season; he gave it his all. Did he make mistakes? Did he go hitless? Yes he did. But you knew if he was on the field, you were going to see his best. He also expected his teammates to play their hardest and best regardless of the situation of the season.
- He is a man of integrity. Tom Verducci wrote an article for Sports Illustrated that illustrates Derek Jeter as a man of integrity. I know that Jeter has never professed to be a Christian. I also know that he has been the most eligible bachelor in New York for the past 20 years. I am not touting his personal lifestyle, nor suggesting that he should be our hero. I am simply pointing out that he could be counted on and he was a man of his word.
- He’s never been in trouble off the field. He has been seen as an eloquent man that was able to handle any situation with class. This characteristic has kept him out of trouble in so many ways.
Why would I, a biblical counselor, write about a sports star who just retired? Am I promoting a man? Am I idolizing someone who played a game for a living? I am writing about Derek Jeter at a time when so many sports stars are known more for their off-field issues than their talents on the field. I know that Jeter is not a perfect person, but I believe that we can learn from The Captain even if he does not represent our Savior and confess our beliefs.
- Do we give our best, no matter the circumstances? When we are at work, are there days that we give more than other days? Are there projects that we feel better about so we pay more attention to them than we would other, smaller projects? As I ask these questions, I am faced with some of my own inadequacies. There are some things that I do in my ministry that I really enjoy, therefore I give them my best effort. That is not always true of some of the more mundane tasks that I must accomplish.
- Are we people of integrity? If we tell someone that we will do something, will it get done? Several years ago in a seminary class we were encouraged to follow through at that moment when someone asked us to pray for them. I was reminded of that just recently on FaceBook as my friend prayed for someone in the store. She stated, “I might forget to pray later so let’s pray now.” It is very important that we maintain a very high level of integrity as Christians.
- Are our private life and our public life the same? When people get close to us and begin to know who we really are, do they find a difference between what the general public sees and what we portray when we are not in the public eye? God is always with us. Even if the cameras are not rolling, God sees what we are doing and who we are.
These characteristics are some of the reasons why Derek Jeter became an icon for an iconic team in an iconic city. He did this on his own. He learned and grew and developed into who he is today. As a believer in Christ, I am challenged by scripture to be a reflection of Christ in all that I do. God does not just put that information in a book for us to learn. He gives us the Holy Spirit to reside within our spirit so that He can teach us and direct us on a daily basis. God never leaves us alone for us to fend for ourselves. He is ever present in our lives. As Christians, do we live in a way that other people would respect our life style? Or are our lives really opposite of what we say we believe?
Today, what changes need to be made in your life for you to be more of a reflection of Jesus Christ? Confess what is not right as sin and repent of that. Ask God to teach you how to be more like Christ every day. He will answer you!
Bradley D. Watson, BCBT Directed Path Ministries
After spending more than 25 years on church staffs, God has allowed me to take the experiences and knowledge that I gained to develop a Biblical Counseling ministry. The basis of this ministry is to allow God’s Word to shine on the main issues in peoples’ lives in order to bring His resolutions to problems.