Baseball has been a huge part of my life. If you’ve read anything of mine it’s most likely you’ve stumbled upon that fact once or twice. It was such a important part of my life as it helped shape my character, drive, work ethic, integrity, sense of team, and focus. On top of that God gifted me to play it well enough compete at high levels of competition. This gift provided me many opportunities I would not have had without the game in my life.
In 1996 my American Legion team from Rapid City, South Dakota made it all the way to the American Legion World Series. It took over 100 games to get there and I even started college a couple days late just to play in it. Although the tournament was amazing the keynote speaker they brought into speak to the teams was the best part.
Beyond just being a baseball fan I am a HUGE Cincinnati Reds fan. Ever since I was a small boy my favorite player was Johnny Bench who was part of the Big Red Machine. Granted this team was before my birth, but The Big Red Machine was arguably one of the greatest baseball teams of all time. Between 1970 – 1976 they averaged 98 wins a season, captured 5 National League West Division titles, 4 National League Pennants, and 2 World Series rings. The were hard nosed players with names such as Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Ken Griffey Sr., Tony Perez, and Dave Concepcion. Although a great group of athletes they were managed by an even greater man. Sparky Anderson.
Sparky was born in a small town in South Dakota called Bridgewater. This is part of the reason he is so near to my heart. He was a small town boy that made it big through hard work, dedication, but most importantly a faith in Christ. He is legendary Hall of Fame manager, but is respected in the game as one of the greatest human beings to ever put on the uniform. It was Sparky who was the keynote speaker at the World Series that year, but it was the group from South Dakota that he made a point to spend time with afterwards. Here is my picture with Sparky. I’m the one directly to his right with the good looking hair.
Part of what amazed me about Sparky was that when he walked into a room (or a dugout) people stopped what they were doing and paid attention. It wasn’t that he was a loud with a harsh tone because in fact he was the exact opposite. He was a quiet, mild mannered man, but oozed respect causing you to hang on every word he said. Whether it was telling stories of the Big Red Machine or talking about baseball as a metaphor for life, every obnoxious, arrogant teenager there sobered up and had the utmost respect. Sparky was a man whose life and resume spoke for itself, but it was how that life was lived out that spoke the loudest.
I have to imagine that Solomon was that type of man when he entered a room. Through God’s gifting of wisdom, I would tend to think that people leaned in when he spoke. His wealth and power were one thing, but his wisdom was worth much more. Wealth and possessions have a limited shelf life, but wisdom is priceless. A God fearing, God honoring, God seeking leader will be infectious to those they lead. The effects of that type of leadership are obvious in Proverbs 28.
- A Godly leader can stand tall on their decisions because they are rooted in Christ. (v. 1)
- A Godly leader finds it easy to resist the temptation of the unGodly wicked. (v. 4)
- A Godly leader knows his definition is not defined by his bank account but by his integrity. (v. 6, 11)
- A Godly leader will be celebrated with pure joy by those that they lead for leading well. (v. 12, 28)
- A Godly leader will own up to their mistakes instead of hiding them. (v. 13)
- A Godly leader will find blessing as they follow God’s will and keep peace. (v. 20, 25)
- A Godly leader will trust God far more than they trust themselves when making decisions. (v. 26)
I believe that when a Godly leader walks into the room there is a difference. There is a calmness, peace, and focus that they possess which people who follow their own desires lack. When your goal in life is to get rich, successful, and popular regardless of the cost there is a glaring weakness to your character. Just as people recognize the difference of a Godly leader they also recognize the stench of a swindler. A selfish leader enjoys the scent of their own musk and prefers to wallow in the glistening facade of their “greatness” rather than pursue the peace found in Christ.
Don’t be get sucked into the lies of individualism and success. Be overwhelmed with the wisdom found in following God’s way for your life. You may be surprised. Earthly success may still come to you, but it will pale in the comparison to the reward awaiting you in eternity. Strive to be the person, father, mother, sister, brother, student, business person, waiter, husband, wife, person that when you walk in the room people see a difference. A difference that is clearly the light of Christ pouring out of you in every aspect of your life. Make your goal to be a head turner for Christ.