And now, a look at the future. As I checked out some stories to pass on to you, I came across this information on Toronto Blue Jays #8 prospect (according to baseballprospectnation.com). A Left handed pitcher named Daniel Norris. He was drafted out of high school last year in the second round – he was ranked much higher, but because he had committed to playing college ball at Clemson, he was largely overlooked. But after the draft, he decided to forego Clemson and go pro right away. He is spoken of quite highly – with good stuff, velocity and potential. And as you can read in this article from the Toronto Sun,he is an outspoken Christ follower and in this article, you can see the personality that he carries and more on his goal to live for God and glorify Him in all Norris does.. And as you can read in this article from the Johnson City Press (his hometown newspaper) that even at 18, he is already enjoying the prospect of being a role model for younger kids. He spent some time sharing his thoughts and message to a group of middle-schoolers– talking about peer pressure and focusing on what’s important in life.
I am excited to see what God has in store for this young man. Here are some things that stuck out as I looked into his story.
1- Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example to the believers…
This is the theme verse for the youth group I work with, and it is such a challenging verse. There is not a minimum age to live for God. I learn a lot about God and the way that he can work in our lives by hearing what these great young people know, understand and learn from reading their Bible. They do have great insight and there is a lot we can learn from youth today. We do them a great disservice if we underestimate what they know and how passionate and eager they are to dig deep into the issues of today. I think it is great that at age 18, Norris is sold out for God and has made living for Him the top priority in his life. I also think it is great that he is eager to mentor others. It is amazing what we can learn for ourselves when we are helping others grasp ideas and concepts. That has been my experience in teaching Sunday School to the 5th and 6th graders.
2- “You can’t be so holy that people don’t want to talk to you”. This is one of the things that Norris said in the interview, and I think this is important. We are called to be holy – set apart – for God and his purposes, but one of the main purposes that He has for us is to be ready to tell others about Him wherever we go. That means that we have to leave any judgements at the dumpster – they have no part in our life – We are instead to see others with the loving eyes of God, and do whatever God calls us to do to give them a chance to meet the real God. I know of well-meaning people of faith who immerse themselves in Christian culture and allow it to dominate the world they live in. If you don’t have opportunity to rub shoulders with “real people in the real world” and invest in the lives of non-believers, then it may be time to re-evaluate your understanding of what God calls us to do.
3- “It’s kind of hard to hear when people shoot down your dreams right in front of you” – This world can be a crushing place. When you invest in the lives of and interact with people, you leave yourself vulnerable to hurt – that is part of what being in relationships brings. Some people are come from a “realist” perspective where dreams are a nice distraction, but unlikely to ever happen. Some are just pessimists – their dreams have not been realized, why should yours? But God can do anything, even things that seem impossible. He may give us what our heart desires most, or He may alter our desires. We are challenged to keep living for and honoring Him no matter what happens. Trust in his plan and watch Him work things out better then you could have imagined.
It may be a few years until we see Daniel Norris in the pros. I read an estimation that he could be the Jays #3 starter in 2015. But regardless of what is to come for this young man. His heart and motivation seem to be focused on God. I pray that he stands strong for his faith and strong in the face of temptation and attack that are sure to come his way. May God be honored in his life.