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Monday, August 10, 2009
Last year, Major League Baseball was overwhelmed by the feel-good story of Josh Hamilton, a former top draft pick who had wasted away his life and talent on drugs and alcohol but had an amazing comeback after cleaning up his life and committing himself to Jesus Christ. The most impressive baseball aspect was how quickly God resurrected his baseball career (though, as Hamilton says, it was to bring all glory to God and not to get glory for himself). From being out of baseball to being the best player for the first half of the 2008 season (including the most impressive home run derby performance ever!), Hamilton shot to prominence, giving him numerous opportunities to share the gospel. And from everything I've seen, he's always shared it well... even when the media wants to heap the praise on him. It's been nauseating to see how badly they missed the point, yet wonderful to watch Hamilton not once miss a beat and just point all the praise back to his Savior.

But the story just got even better... this past week it became public that in January he had a one-night relapse with his alcoholic past, and worse, had it lead to some very indecent activities with other women at a bar. And still the media misses the point, unwilling to acknowledge Hamilton's God. But Hamilton wisely recognized this as an opportunity to remind the world that he isn't perfect and is still human (rather than a hypocrite), isn't doing it on his own power, and that God was using it to teach him a valuable lesson. The world needs to see that while God does offer an abundant life in the here and now, it's not without loving discipline and ups and downs. To some extent or another, every Christian is a Josh Hamilton.


Steve Martin said...


We are beggars(all of us Christians) but we do know where the bread line is.

In Christ!

Chris A said...

I don't want this to come off disagreeable, but I don't think of myself as a beggar and I am a Christian.

This reminds me of the prodigal son. He thought, "Hey, I'm out here wallowing in pig dung. I might as well return to my father's house as a servant." But his father wouldn't hear of it. When he saw his son coming from far off, he ran to greet him. He did not make him beg to be accepted as his son. In fact, he put a ring on his finger and had a party in honor of his son's return.

In Christ we are not beggars, but sons, reconciled to our Father through the blood of Jesus Christ, irrespective of our prior offenses. We are accepted in the beloved.

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."

1 John 3:1

Even the Israelites didn't have to stand in a bread line for God's provision. He rained down bread from heaven for them, not because of anything they had done, but because of God's goodness.

Today, we enjoy the Bread of Life, who came down from heaven to satisfy our hunger for the life that proceeds from God. We don't have to beg for it. Its a free gift, and no one begs to receive a gift or it ceases to be a gift, but a reward for begging.

Steve Martin said...

The "beggar" picture is one related to humility.

Our Father will not make us beg, He gives and sustains the believer and the unbeliever alike with everything they need in this life.

In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, Jesus paints the picture of a proud, self righteous man and of a poor wretch who could not even raise his eyes toward Heaven. Jesus said that the wretch that new his need of God was the one who went away justified.

So humility (which comes from the realization that we are not what God has made us to be) is a state that God uses in us that we remain needful of Him.

That kind of attitude helps to keep us from taking Him for granted and helps keep us in a dynamic relationship (repentance and forgiveness)(dying and rising).

God does not make anyone beg. But he does want us to ask, and to be humble about who and what we really are...and of our great need of Him.


Chris A said...

When I think of beggars, I don't think of humility. I think of hungry, broke, out of work people. I've run into some that are humble, and I've run into some that are jerks and scam artists. If they ask me for money, I'll usually give it to them, but I never leave the experience with the notion that their condition somehow correlates with humility - humiliation perhaps.

I think humility is best understood as the attitude that is wholly consistent with the truth. When the Pharisee said he was thanking God because he was better than everyone else, that was inconsistent with the truth. When the tax collector prayed for mercy because he was a sinner, that was consistent with the truth. Humility is not thinking more highly (or lowly) then you should about yourself, but rather thinking in line with who we truly are.

But there is a false humility which many Christians assume that is inconsistent with the truth. This is often manifested in the attitude of unjustifiable worthlessness. Religiously speaking, some people are more comfortable being the son eating hog slop than the son being received by the Father saying, "All I have is thine." Instead they say, "I'm not worthy to be your son" without realizing that their personal "worthiness" has nothing at all to do with it. The Father loves them, but they selfishly reject his love by clinging to their own self-consciousness and religious security.

When we come to Christ, we come as the tax collecting sinner. But when He receives us, we thenceforth come to Him as sons, being washed, justified, and sanctified. This doesn't mean we no longer need His mercy or forgiveness, but we come to the realization that He will freely provide it to us because He faithfully loves his sons.

Also I think there is a real danger in connecting poverty with humility. Poor people are often some of the most proud people you'll ever meet. A rich man could be just as humble as a homeless person, even more so.

Darius said...

"Poor people are often some of the most proud people you'll ever meet. A rich man could be just as humble as a homeless person, even more so."

True, but in general, it's more likely to find a proud rich person than a proud poor one. That's why Jesus said it would be so difficult for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God... they aren't likely to see their need for God when they put their pride and self-worth in their riches and property. While there were rich people in the early church or among Jesus' disciples, the majority were middle class at best. And many or all of those that were financially rich became poor (Zaccheus, for example).

I always say that greed and love of money are equal opportunity vices... you can love money when you're poor just as much as when you're rich. Consider the lottery scams throughout America: who do they impoverish? The greedy among the poor, more often than not. That is who spends the money they should be using for food or clothing on lotto tickets, hoping for the (unearned) quick buck.

Chris A said...

Darius, I agree completely.

Anonymous said...

this guy dosnt seem like a genuine christian at all. the story of the ten lepers comes to mind. ten were cleansed but only one returned. josh could have recieved deliverance from drugs and can give christ the glory and still choose not to follow him. the idea that he does not have the ability to control himself says a lot. one of the fruits of the spirit is self control and if he does not have it then he doesnt have the spirit. not being able to handle money/drive a seperate car??? give me a break. he needs to repent for REAL.

Darius said...

Anon, I would recommend reading Romans 7... "So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."

Hamilton recognizes that he has sinful flesh and that certain sins are a major temptation for him. Rather than just "be tough" and fight the temptation, he flees it. He doesn't hang around hoping that he won't cave.

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
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