For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. — 1 Peter 1:18–19
I became a baseball fan during the magical season of 1961. I lived for the trek to the mailbox for the morning paper. Turning to the sports section, I would devour the scores, especially those of the New York Yankees, where the nation focused on the home run race between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. These two players fascinated me. Though Maris won the home run race that year, Mickey Mantle was my hero. He moved with grace and hit with power, and his statistics were incredibly impressive.
As I grew older, however, I learned of many poor choices made by Mantle. His decadent lifestyle and forty-year abuse of alcohol had shortened his career, prevented him from reaching his full potential, and clouded his mind.
In 1994 he was able to overcome the bottle, but he realized something was still missing from his life. Then in 1995 Mantle learned he had liver cancer. He called his former teammate and friend, Bobby Richardson, and asked him to pray for him over the telephone. Later, Richardson visited a dying Mantle who told him that he had trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior. Mickey had asked for and received the forgiveness he desperately needed. He had won his greatest victory, more glorious than any of his home runs.
Richardson told two thousand people attending Mantle’s funeral that there are only two groups of people, those who say yes to Christ and those who say no. In his biggest time “at bat,” Mickey hit a home run with his decision to trust Jesus, and this placed him in the eternal hall of fame.
1. Do your heroes deserve that status?
2. Are you a hero to others?
3. Have you given your life to Jesus Christ?
Extra Reading: Luke 18:9–14
Lord, I know I am a sinner, full of pride and selfishness, and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You died in my place to pay the penalty for my sins and that you rose from the dead. I now trust in You alone as my Savior and receive Your gift of eternal life. Amen.