Ben Zobrist, Nebuccadnezzar, and the All-Star influence

Last night I got back from a drive down South about 11 pm, just in time to catch the last 2 innings of the 287th All-Star game. Just in time to see Tampa Bay Rays first time All-Star Ben Zobrist foul off a number of pitches, and then, well……strikeout. That’s OK. He was an All-Star.

Ben Zobrist has played most of the positions in the field but has settled in at 2nd base since that’s where the team needed him the most. His goal for this year was simply to crack the starting line-up. Now he is an All-Star. Peter Gammons has even considered him a possible first half MVP of the American League.

He is also a committed Christian who walks up to the plate with the background music from his wife Juliana Zobrist, who is a Christian singer.

How long will this crazy ride last for young Ben? You never can tell. He could repeat as an All-Star or stink it up next year. Sometimes God lifts people up for certain seasons of their lives. Sometimes that season seems short like a beautiful spring, and sometimes long as a cold, wet winter.

Another Christian baseball player Josh Hamilton said something to the effect of, “As long as Jesus keeps letting me play well and get recognized, I’ll use it as a platform to tell others about Him.” Hamilton recently played in last night’s All-Star game despite very weak numbers.

God lifts up people, churches, and kingdoms for set periods of time and for specific purposes. Yet all can disappear when pride enters in (Daniel 4:30) or should God simply have different plans. For some like former Babylonian King Nebucadnezzar and Arizona Cardinal’s QB Kurt Warner, he may exalt, humble, and then lift up once again by restoring a literal kingdom or allowing one to lead the league in passing and go to the Super Bowl.

Positions of influence such as literal kingdoms and All-Star games happen to few of us, but relationships of influence happen fairly regularly if we seek them out or are open to them. Sometimes they may be literally or metaphorically “snowbirds,” in our lives one season and gone the next; sometimes they last much longer.

Regardless of how long your “all-star” status lasts, it is wise to seek the Lord and ask, “What would you have me do with this relationship while I’ve gained his or her respect?” That way, like Josh Hamilton, we can make the most of our time “on top,” pointing them to the King and Kingdom without end.

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