Acouple of months ago, I read a biography about Bo Jackson. Jackson was a professional football and baseball player in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Were it not for a devastating hip injury sustained during a football game in 1991, he easily could have been a hall of famer in both sports.
Near the back of the book I found a story, one that could have been easily overlooked, as incredibly noteworthy—especially for followers of Jesus. Jackson was playing baseball for the Chicago White Sox after being cut by the Kansas City Royals because of the hip injury. Nobody thought Bo could rehab his hip enough to even walk normally, much less resume playing a professional sport. Nevertheless, he homered in his first at-bat of the 1993 season with the Sox.
Between innings, the herculean slugger sent one of the team’s outfielders to ask for the ball back. The young fan who caught it—understanding the significance of the moment—gladly complied. Interviewed for the book three decades later, the fan said, “It was one of the best memories of my life, mainly because it meant so much to someone else.”
That quote swirled around in my mind for quite a while. It made me wonder, of all the “best moments” of my own life, how many had someone else as the central star?
I hope nobody would consider me arrogant or selfish, but I must admit—it’s not hard for my mind to be occupied with my wants, my plans, my desired outcomes. This singularly focused mindset often clashes with my faith, as I’ve learned over the years that my plans or desired outcomes may not be God’s will for my life.
Scripture nudges us in the direction of others continually. Galatians 6:2 instructs us to, “Carry one another’s burdens; in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Philippians 2:3-4 commands us to consider others as greater, or more important, than ourselves. The next few verses raise the stakes, commanding us to “adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who … emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant.”
Our country … our world … the church needs more of this servant-driven, others-first mentality. If we’re not careful, “discipleship” can become a word that describes personally growing as big and strong as possible, fueling our spiritual muscles with biblical knowledge (picture a 20-year-old flexing, glistening Arnold Schwarzenegger). We absolutely should be soaking in God’s Word, but a more complete picture of discipleship depicts us engaging the lives of others intimately, pointing others to the cross, and displaying a willingness to sacrifice for the sake of others (picture a kneeling Jesus wiping filth off the feet of His disciples).
What can you do this year to impact the life of another? What barriers do you need to overcome so that, by Dec. 31, 2023, you, too, will be able to testify that one of your best memories of the past year happened because it meant so much to someone else?
What a blessing it would be to be able to say, in the powerful name of Jesus, that you made that much of an impact on the life of someone else this year. That person may very well say it was the best year they’ve had in a long time.
And you may find yourself saying that, too.