Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When You believe in God but won't share your faith part 3

An old friend of mine is an author and blogger. I recently received an email from him about making an impact on others lives. Thought this was a great practical read as a follow up to the message from this past Sunday...ENJOY!!!
Article by Matt Anderson (Matt Chat)

On September 25, the Texas Rangers cliched their division's championship in Oakland. It was cause to celebrate. This was rarefied territory for the frequent AL West cellar-dwellers. It would be their first playoff appearance in 11 years. Per tradition, bottles of champagne were popped open and freely dispensed over the heads of teammates.

But Josh Hamilton was nowhere to be found. After hugging and shaking hands with his teammates, he changed in the trainer's room, far away from the raucous celebration. Why would he eschew a moment craved by every baseball player? Two reasons. Hamilton is a believer in Christ who didn't want to send the wrong message to fans, and he is a recovering addict.

Hamilton is one of Major League Baseball's most interesting stories. Drafted as a "can't miss" prospect, his rampant addiction to drugs and alcohol had taken away everything - his career (suspended from the league), his family, and almost his life. At rock bottom, he made a decision to follow Christ, eventually got clean, and got back into baseball.

Now he's arguably the best player in the game. But he's far from perfect. Relapsing almost two years ago, he made the mistake of believing he could handle one drink. That dalliance snowballed into a binge and an indiscretion that once again could have cost him his career and family. Finding forgiveness from both his wife and team, he moved forward. These days, the right fielder has to live on a much shorter leash than most. He has no cash or credit cards in his wallet at any time, to eliminate the temptation to purchase alcohol or drugs. Even his per diem funds are handled by his manager. He is only allowed to hang out with teammates who don't drink alcohol. Which explains why Hamilton was nowhere to be found when the champagne was flowing.

This past Friday night, I watched from home as the Rangers defeated the Yankees to win the American League pennant. The team charged the field, huddled, hugged, and celebrated by pouring beverages over each other's heads. But this time, Hamilton was right in the middle of it. Why? What the lead broadcaster said next floored me. He remarked that, in deference to Josh Hamilton, the team was showering each other with liter bottles of ginger ale. From my living room, all I could say was, "That's totally cool." I know. Not the profundity you look for from a writer, but that's all that worked. I was amazed at the respect they showed to a valuable teammate.

It's not easy for Christians in the workplace. Even today, many of us will be regaled with tales of unholy conquest and behavior from the previous weekend. We seem to almost be speaking a different language than others in the office or the plant. It seems a gulf too big to span. However, I would suggest than when we are a valuable teammate and value those we work with, we will have the respect of (at least) some. If we refuse to go out for drinks with friends/co-workers and tell them we're concerned about getting drunk and what that does to us, only a complete moron (non-spiritual diagnosis by author) would be disagreeable. Yes, there will be those who can't wait for us to "relapse" and be less than perfect, but in their hearts they'll know we get it right a whole lot more than we get it wrong. And that counts for something.

If you're in that spot and think you're not making an impact, I want you to know that you are. When the loud mouth's head hits the pillow, it's your life he wishes he had. He wished he could live without the constant shame, guilt, and pain that only substances can anesthetize. Be as consistent as you can, be a good teammate to the company, and be available to your co-workers. Who knows? The next invitation to drinks may turn out to be ginger ale.

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