MVP, Ben Zobrist, starts his career with a Cleveland connection and burns Cleveland in Game 7 of The World Series.  You can’t dream up a more intense situation, playing extra innings, when Zobrist steps up to the plate after the Cleveland Indians pitcher, Bryan Shaw, intentionally walked Anthony Rizzo to get to Zobrist.  Zobrist came through big for the Cubs with his go ahead run scoring a double down the third base line.

Personally, having spent over 7 years as a chaplain in the Cleveland Indians organization, with Akron’s AA Affiliate, it is exciting to see several guys from within and outside the organization playing in the MLB.  I find it just as exciting to see them transition into careers after the game.

Wednesday night, as my wife and I skyped in a video feed of the ‘Winner Take ALL World Series Finale’, I was compelled to send a text message to fellow former Cleveland Indians organization chaplain, John Saucier, shown below.

text-zobrist-voice-mail

The  audio, sent in the text, is a private voice mail from Ben to me from 2008, Ben’s MLB debut year with Tampa Bay.  (I have a hard time calling these guys rookies because of how much ball they play prior to making the big league.)  Ben had some minor injuries at the time and John and I were attempting to encourage him.  The chain of events that unfolded was unexpected.

BRIEF HISTORY and ZOBRIST’S CLEVELAND CONNECTION

I had first met Ben and Julianna, more than a year prior when I joined Ben and several other baseball players to share our faith with a group of local high school students at what was then Jacobs Field in Cleveland. John Saucier had invited me to the event and introduced me to Ben. It was a great event, for a little more information you can click here.

John had later asked me to go Nashville to meet with a church who desired to have an vibrant high school ministry. I would be going to help counsel the church on how to formulate a strategy to accomplish the mission God was calling them to implement. Minor League Baseball players Drew Sutton and Ben Zobrist, who were spending their off season in Nashville and willing to be used by God, were our secret weapons.  What God had in store can not be fully disclosed here, but it was exceedingly abundantly GREATER than any of us had expected.

By the end of the 2008 season Zobrist would go the the World Series and play in the ALL Star Game.  In 2009, Sutton would make his major league debut with the Cincinnati Reds.  However, it was in that time in physical rehabilitation that I believe God shared a very important lesson with Ben Zobrist.  Ben found a deeper purpose beyond baseball in that time. Ben lead someone to the Lord for the first time.  Ben found his eternal purpose, I believe that experience set him free on the diamond to play for God on a completely different level than ever before.

Witnessing Ben share the emotion, joy, and enthusiasm of God using him to hit his first “SPIRITUAL GAME WINNING HOME RUN” is a privilege I have cherished for some time now.  Ben’s love for his wife, his children, and his giftedness in baseball is topped by one thing, he LOVES Jesus Christ.  To read more about Ben’s story click here.

The last time I spoke with Ben was after the 2009 All Star Game and I believe it was a divine appointment.  I was compelled to ask Ben the following question.  “Ben you made it to the World Series, a dream come true, and you played in the All Star Game, I have to ask, what was more fulfilling sharing Christ, with ‘S.O.’, or the experiences you’ve had in baseball?”  Ben’s answer was quick and without hesitation, “Sharing Christ.”

You can follow the Zobrist’s by clicking here.

YOU CAN HIT SPIRITUAL HOME RUNS TOO

Follow Ben Zobrist’s Example:

  • Secure your personal relationship with Christ
  1. Do you believe In God?
  2. Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?
  3. Do you believe Jesus died on the cross for the sins of men, including yours?
  4. Do you believe Jesus was buried in a tomb?
  5. Do you believe Jesus rose from the dead?
  6. Do you believe Jesus ascended to Heaven?
  7. Do you believe Jesus will return someday establishing His eternal kingdom to all who believe in Him for their salvation?
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:18
  • Share with others what God has done for you

Tell others the story of how you came to trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  Share how they can trust Jesus to be their Savior as well.

Below is one way Ben does this:

When I was younger I was defined by my success on the sports field. Since my faith was in my performance I was on a roller coaster of emotions. It was the same in my daily life. I strove for a life of moral perfection, but always fell short. Deep down I knew I would never be perfect. But, I don’t have to be perfect. Jesus Christ is perfect.

This truth has freed me in sports and life. In Christ God loves me unconditionally. My performance good or bad does not change His love for me. “God demonstrated His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) ”

According to the Bible, all men are sinners in need of a Savior. God sent Jesus Christ to live the life we couldn’t and take the penalty we deserved. God has proven His gracious acceptance of me by raising Christ from the dead and allowing over 500 people to witness His life even after He was crucified.

Jesus is my Lord and my righteousness. My faith is no longer in my performance, but in His life, death and resurrection on my behalf. Read Ephesians 2:8-9 and Galatians 2:20 to learn about my Savior and how you can know Him too!

You can answer yes to all the questions, you can share all you know about Jesus Christ, but only God knows your heart and can vouch for your salvation.  As men and women we can only strive to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and love others as ourselves.  With hopes that others will see this testimony come to life through God’s power.

People can see your belief by the way you respond to God and others as written in John 13:35: ‘By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

An example of Ben Zobrist’s loving his neighbors is made evident in this video. Click here to view the video.

It is not only me who feels Ben is an MVP on the field as well as off the field teammate, David Ross shares, “He is the player of the month for sure,” Ross said before Tuesday’s game. “He’s the player of the year so far for me. He has quickly become my favorite player in all of Major League Baseball. This guy is the most professional player I’ve ever been around. He comes in every day, same routine, same intensity.”

Blessings to you in Jesus!

Shawn