Saturday, June 17, 2006

Jim Rome & Jesus

One of my favorite passtimes is listening to sports talk radio. And one of the most entertaining talk shows is "The Jim Rome Show". I have to admit that I'm "a clone" and enjoy being "in the jungle".

The other day Jim was ranting about a particular professional baseball player, a pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers, I believe. This pitcher had begun a program to help less fortunate kids attend Major League Baseball games. (I think it was called the "45 Club" or some such name, in recognition of the players uniform number, and the number of kids he'd pay for each game.)

Sounds great, so far, right? Well hold on a minute. There were a few caveats.

First, the kids were only attending games in which this guy pitched. (He is a "starting pitcher", so he only pitches once every five games.) No biggie, I suppose.

Second, when he was yanked from the starting lineup, "demoted" to the bullpen and turned into a reliever, this great philanthropist YANKED the program. No more freebies for the kiddies! (Apparently if HE'S not pitching, the kids wouldn't be interested.)

Third, when he was reinstated as a starter again, he decided NOT to RESTART THE PROGRAM because, (and this was the point Rome was railing against) HE WASN'T GETTING ENOUGH CREDIT!!

Imagine, a multi-millionaire, who could do a few kids some real good, but refused because people weren't NOTICING WHAT A GREAT GUY HE IS. People weren't paying him enough attention for being generous. The media and others weren't reporting on what a GREAT, and MAGNANIMOUS GUY he is. He wasn't getting any love, any "pub".

"Well" Rome said on his nationally syndicated show, "guess you got some publicity now, didn't you?!" (I didn't see it that evening, but I wondered if he mentioned it on his nationally televised show "Rome is Burning" on ESPN too.)

The "take" about this spoiled, selfish prima donna did make my blood boil. But it also got me thinking:

"How often do I do things for others with NO thought or care about getting 'credit' or drawing attention to myself." Probably not nearly often enough.

Rome contrasted this small-hearted (no-hearted?) act with that of another athlete. Warrick Dunn, professional football player for the Atlanta Falcons, has provided new homes for people (usually single moms, I think). He has been a one-man "Extreme Home Makeover". And he seems to do it without caring whether or not people notice. But they do notice.

Kind of reminds me of what Jesus said about himself to his followers, people who would want to be like him. Jesus told them he "came not to BE SERVED, but TO SERVE, and to GIVE his life as a ransom for many". He also told his followers, "you do that for each other" (after he had modeled the servant's life by washing their dirty, smelly feet).

There are two ways to do life in this world:

1.) Expecting to BE SERVED (even as we give or provide charity)



I'm thankful for people like Warrick Dunn and people like Jesus. Their selfless lives make this world a better place. They make us better people. I pray for strength and love that will help me be like them.

Grace & peace.

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