A man’s spiritual health is exactly proportional to his love for God.  

-C.S. Lewis

Detroit Tiger and slugger Gary Sheffield could have easily retired last winter after twenty hard fought seasons in Major League Baseball.  After all, the last several years have entailed shoulder surgery upon shoulder surgery for the feisty and outspoken star.  If you have ever seen Sheffield swing it’s no wonder his shoulder is silly-putty, he is a violent hitter who lines the ball as close to the speed of light as any hitter I have ever seen.  Shef (as his teammates call him) is a probable Hall of Famer. 

This last off-season had included a major shoulder surgery for the slugger.  When they went in to do the procedure they found even more problems which no doctor had anticipated—so it was no shock that many fans such as myself who were already sceptical thought we may have witnessed the end of Sheffield’s playing days in 2007—with or without his permission. 

On Opening Day in late March Shef was asked about his return and what motivated him to come back and live with the pain he’d surely have to play through and the possibility of an unsuccessful bid to cap his career with another Sheffield type performance.  He didn’t blink.  He shot back something to the effect, When I considered my teammates, our general manager Dave Dombrowski, and our manager Jim Leyland—and I’d do anything for them… When I looked at who I was doing it [returning] for, it was easy.

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!    (Hebrews 12:1-3, The Message Bible)

No one else in the entire universe might realize the challenges you have taken on, the demons you have battled, or the sacrifices you have made that have went unnoticed and under-appreciated, but know this—Jesus sees the love you have for him and others.