This morning I was invited to a breakfast gathering of pastors, and our guest was Dayton Moore, the General Manager of the Kansas City Royals. Dayton spoke with us about his faith, and of course shared stories about his hopes and goals in designing the team that won last year's American League championship and made it to the 9th inning of the last game of the World Series before falling to the Giants.
While the baseball stories were fun and interesting, I actually scrambled for a pen and paper and took notes when he said this:
There's never been a day in my life when I haven't thought about baseball. But I have thought about quitting every year. When I feel that way and think about it, I realize that in those moments I'm either living in bitterness, or in a world of comparison, or off of my knees. (my paraphrase, not an exact quote, but really close)
Here is a man like many of us. We all have gifts, talents, passion, relationships, and opportunities. Most of us don't hate our lives. We may even enjoy who we are most days, and perhaps even feel like our work is a kind of calling.
What stops us?
Well, bitterness does. When I'm bitter I'm focused on whatever left a bad taste in my mouth. When I'm bitter I'm focused on the past.
And comparison does. When I'm comparing myself to others I'm envisioning that their life is somehow better than mine. I'm focused on someone else, when the only person I can change is me.
And selfishness does. When I'm off of my knees that can only mean that I've seized control and I'm doing it all on my own. When I'm selfish I lose sight of a greater purpose.
As baseball fans in Kansas City, we can all be glad that Dayton Moore kept on going on those days when he wanted to quit. We ended up enjoying a dreamlike fall and an entire region united around a team.
As followers of Jesus and as a congregation, Dayton Moore's thoughts have some profound implications for our lives as well. Every day offers a choice. We can live in the bitterness of past disappointments, compare ourselves to others, and selfishly keep on striving with no greater purpose. That's a recipe for failure, and too many days spent like that will crush your spirit. Or, we can remember our calling, use the gifts and talents God has given, and join (on our knees) God's greater mission for today.