As I look for stories to share, I try to find ways to connect their stories with me in some way. Today, as I read this Washington Post article about Washington Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon the similarity brought a smile to my face. But my story is more connected to Sam Palace who helped Rendon buy his first guitar, only to see him playing songs by the end of the week when it had taken Palace 3 years before he could play a song.
For me, it was not guitar but juggling. When I was 21, I traveled around the U.S.A. with 2 other guys putting on children’s ministry workshops. One of my colleagues was a juggler and so I asked him to teach me. He started giving me pointers but it took me Eight months before I was finally was able to juggle a little bit (my record when I got home was 35 tosses before dropping).
But more than learning to juggle, I learned to teach juggling. I worked as a youth pastor intern and started teaching some of the kids in my youth group how to juggle. One young man I worked with -Eli – went from picking up juggling balls for the first time to tossing under a leg and behind his back in less than half an hour. A few days later when I saw him again, he was doing things that I couldn’t do. I’d like to take the credit for it, but I think his natural ability had more to do with it.
Rendon’s natural ability with a guitar was pretty amazing, and his natural ability at baseball is also evident. He was the 6th overall pick in the 2011 draft, and made his major league debut less than 2 years later. He has not looked back. He has won a Silver Slugger Award, led the league in runs and has put up great numbers. But if Rendon doesn’t seem like a household name, maybe it is because Rendon strives to remain humble. He says “(My parents are) quiet. They raised me not to be boastful about anything we do. My faith as well — it says don’t boast about anything that’s coming your way. The Lord has given you everything. It’s just being modest, being humble about everything and keeping my head on straight.”
In fact, as you can read in this article from mlb.com, Rendon tries to stay away from the spotlight. He says “It’s not who I am. It’s not how I was raised. I don’t like seeking all the attention. When you start doing stuff like that, it gets into your head, you are not being yourself. … I just like playing the game. I don’t like all the extra stuff that comes with it.”
Here are my takeaways from Rendon’s story:
1- Make others better – I loved learning to juggle. But maybe not for the right reasons. I liked to be able to show off my skills and so it was humbling when someone I would teach to juggle would quickly pass my skill level. But what I learned from having this happen to me a few times is that there is a certain satisfaction seeing someone identify and grow in a gift that they have been given. I have never entered a juggling contest and don’t ever expect to do so. I will never make my living as a juggler so why get upset when I help someone and they turn out to be better than me at it? It doesn’t. It is just cool to see there interest grow as they start to figure things out. I get to teach lessons from the Bible often. I hope that I can be used to grow other’s interest in God as I teach others about Him and continue to learn about Him myself. In what ways is God using you to bring out His best in the lives of others?
2 – Humility wins the day – Rendon often talks about shying away from the spotlight. He remembers that all the natural talent that he has received as well as the opportunities to turn these skills into a major league job is all a gift from God. When we understand that all we have, even life itself is a gift from God it is easier to remain humble. What has God done for you? How do the gifts and blessings that God has filled your life with point you toward Him?