Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. Beyond the horizon is rest beckoning me. Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me.
Who are your heroes? Sports celebrities, maybe? World politicians, social justice advocates, personal friends, maybe a parent? Why do you think of them as heroes? Intelligence, money, fame, accomplishments, ethics? Whatever your criteria may be, your choices are absolutely valid because these are your heroes, not your mother’s, your pastor’s, your teacher’s or those of your spouse. You measure them according to your code of conduct, your conscience. You see in them the person you strive to be, the legacy you would like to leave as a member of humanity.
In the world of sports celebrities, Derek Jeter of pro baseball, Tim Tebow of college football’s Heisman fame, and Colin Kaepernick of pro football top my list. The one common thread with the three, in my mind, is their surrender to a purposeful life superseding their athletic gifts.
Jeter exhibited a wholesomeness of character which presented to his fans a lifestyle worthy of emulating. Derek did not use PEDs, he did not carouse, he did not create chaos in the sports world. Unlike numerous peers who succumbed to the glitz and glitter of fan adoration, he maintained with innocence and wholesomeness his poster child presence as a man of integrity and ethics.
Tim Tebow was quarterback for the Florida Gators winning the Heisman in 2007 and leading his team to BCS National championship games in 2006 and 2008 seasons. My most memorable thought of Tim is the 2009 BCS Championship game during which he wore in eye black John 3:16. Over the next 24 hours that verse generated 90 million Google searches. In 2010 the NCAA banned messages in eye black. His visibility as a Christian believer created controversy on the playing field and among the sports pundits. That high-profile walk in faith probably closed many doors of opportunity in the sports world. He has been instrumental in numerous philanthropic endeavors.
“Loving others is not an option. As followers of Jesus, we don’t get to love certain people and not others.” Tim Tebow
Colin Kaepernick is most notable as the professional quarterback who took a knee during the playing of the national anthem. In subsequent games, fellow team mates and players across the realm of pro football joined him in protesting a country and an Administration which was not paying attention to the increasing incidence of police brutality against blacks. The POTUS referred publicly to Colin as an s.o.b. who needed to be run out of pro football. Sports fans will argue till hell freezes over about the legitimacy of Kaepernick’s protests, but one cannot argue his dedication to his belief in social justice for all Americans. As with Tebow, this highly gifted athlete has put principles above wealth and fame thus seeing his sports career nosedive. He is the founder of the Colin Kaepernick Foundation to fight oppression and he hosts the Know Your Rights Camp for youth to get educated on how to interact with law enforcement.
My ultimate hero is Jesus of Nazareth. Not the God-man as created by church fathers in the 4th century, but rather, the human being who loved his fellow-man so much that he was willing to suffer crucifixion as the penalty for his crime of offending the Jewish powers and inciting the Roman conquerors. Jesus protested the social injustice, aided the oppressed and poor, lived his life according to ethical principles. I think Jesus is smiling when he sees Derek, Tim and Colin.
Merely my humble opinion of course because I believe life is like a baseball game. Got to keep on slugging away for what I believe is right – just like my heroes.