About a year and a half ago, I took on a second job, working at Trader Joe’s. I remember one of the interview questions was something to the effect of “what does a good day look like to you?” I thought about it for a moment and what came to mind when I thought about having a “good day” was that I would be able to make better the day of everyone I was in contact with. I don’t know that I achieved that many times in my 18 months of working there – I’d like to think that I did, but it is something that I know I wanted to strive for. And I think that it is a valid goal to set for every day life, not just in the customer-centered world of retail.
Earlier this week, Ty Blach made life for his Giants teammates better by pitching 8 strong innings against the Oakland A’s striking out 6, and giving up only 2 runs, 1 less than he drove in with his first career home run, which you can watch in this video.
Black came to the Giants as a 5th round pick in the 2012 draft after 3 years as one of the “most dominating left-handed pitchers in Creighton History“. He made his Giants debut with them last September and made the team out of Spring Training this year, starting off in the bullpen before taking a spot in the rotation when Madison Bumgarner got hurt.
As you can read in this interview with Unashamed Athletes, Blach places importance on following God and living to impact the world for Him. He says “I say a prayer before every inning that I pitch in order to help me keep my eyes on God and play for Him. I also like to read a few chapters of the Bible before each start that I make so that I have His word fresh in my mind while I’m on the field. Off the field I try to lead a life pleasing to God. I am always trying to be upbeat and positive and see if there is any way that I can brighten the day of the people around me.” When asked his favorite verse, he says “My favorite verse is Matthew 6:33. It says “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all of His righteousness and all of these things will be given to you” When I was a kid I got an autograph from Terry Shumpert who was a utility infielder for the Colorado Rockies. Under his signature he had this verse written. Ever since that day, that verse has never left me. It reminds me that in everything that I do, I should put God first and God will help take care of everything else. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Shumpert a year or so ago and I told him about the autograph and the Bible verse that he put with it and the impact it still has on me to this day. He made an impact on me with that Bible verse and I too hope to make an impact on someone’s life when I include Matt 6:33 on my autographs for fans.”
By the end of the interview, he encourages all to be open about their faith, even if it is scary at times. He says “It can be difficult and you may feel unaccepted by some people in society today, but you will come to find out that there are a lot of people in the world who are very accepting of God’s love. Someone may just be needing a ray of hope in a tough time or someone else might be just as afraid to show their faith just like you. No matter what the case, God has put you in this world to make an impact on the people around you so don’t be afraid to live for Him. ”
Here are my takeaways from Blach’s story:
1 – Positive Impact – Blach said he hopes that he can brighten the day of the people around him. I said something similar in my job interview. In reality, it should be a goal for each of us, and an easy enough goal to reach as a Christian. You see, we have hope, we have joy offered to us, we have Spirit of the Creator of the Universe living inside of us and the promise of heaven awaiting us. We have a lot of joy to share. Let’s take stock of all that God has done in our lives and let’s be open and grateful. Let’s ask Him to show us the needs of the people around us and how the path He has had us walk can help meet those needs. and Let’s let His love flow through us to those who still need to learn about it. We have the Joy of the Lord as our strength (Psalm 28.7). It is easy to get so caught up in the challenges of this life, but if we reset our focus and thoughts on Him, we will see that He is at work and has been faithful to all He promised us. Let those thoughts be what guides us to make a positive impact to the world around us.
2- Seek First – This ties nicely into the first point. Seeking God’s Kingdom, putting Him first will help us keep the proper perspective and allow us to demonstrate the joy He provides. That verse in Matthew is directly after a call not to worry about how our needs will be met, instead we can put our minds on the things of God and following His path for us. And He will take care of the rest of the details. They are not in our control anyway, so why try to pretend they are. And Part 2 of this thought is how God’s word is powerful and will not return void (Isaiah 55.11). A reference written as part of an autograph a young boy got from a baseball hero. And it continued to encourage that boy as he, himself grew into a Major Leaguer. He now signs his autograph with the same verse. Something seemingly simple, yet God works through it. I know I don’t want to miss anything that He is doing. I pray that we will all be reminded daily to “seek first the kingdom of God…”