Yesterday’s Randy Roberts sermon (Dare to Be a Daniel) eloquently touched on one of my favorite themes: how a life of quiet, winsome eloquence can touch the whole planet. Here’s my all-time best illustration of how an obedient Christian’s life devoted to excellence can earn one shining moment where the world “stands back in wonder” (Chariots of Fire).
In 1988, born-again pitcher Orel Hershiser almost single-handedly took the Dodgers to victory in the World Series, winning 23 games. On the way there, he smashed Drysdale’s so-called unbreakable record for consecutive scoreless innings (59).
My brother Donald and I were present at Playoff Game Seven against the Mets; of course, Orel was shutting New York down. When he struck out the final batter, pandemonium reigned . . . but the party was delayed for a few poignant and precious seconds. Orel Hershiser, devout Christian that he was, knelt down on the mound and gave thanks to Jesus Christ. It was a video triumph seen all around the globe, a witness to multiplied millions of viewers. Needless to say, Donald and I had tears in our eyes.
Not to belabor the point, but when God’s people do excellent work, even hardened secularists generally cheer. The next night Hershiser was in Hollywood, guest star on the Johnny Carson show. When asked how he stayed calm in the dugout between innings, the Christian pitcher admitted to singing hymns. Right there on live TV, Carson dared him to sing a bit; Orel quietly sang the Doxology. The applause was respectful and Johnny admitted later how moved he was.
Thanks, Pastor Randy, for such a fine reminder of this opportunity.