The baseball season is a great excuse to grab your friends or family and head out to the ballpark. It is always fun to fellowship and cheer on our favorite team. Five years ago, we sat down with LA Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. In addition to being a family man on-and-off the field, Adrian and his family also give back to the community through their foundation and volunteer efforts. He has played with the LA Dodgers for the last three seasons and has also played for the San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers. He even played for the Mexico national baseball team in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers this past March, which was managed by his brother, Edgar. When Risen sat down with Adrian, we talked about his desire to use his platform as an athlete to talk about Christ and his commitment to his wife, Betsy.
Adrian shared with us how he and his wife became Christians.
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
“In 2003, after I was married about a month and a half my wife and I started hanging out with Christian couples and they showed us how to live a Christian life and live by faith and have a relationship with Christ. From that moment on, we knew that is what we wanted in our lives. I made the decision to give my life to Christ.”
From his workout t-shirts that say, “Who’s the Man? Jesus!” to his bats that have Psalm 27:1 on them, Adrian is passionate about others knowing about Christ. He understands that it is not just the game, but how he lives his life on a daily basis.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
Adrian continues, “It’s changed it. Now it’s not about having a great game on the field, it is how my relationship with Christ is after the game. It’s how I react to certain things…who I glorify and give credit to after the games. It completely changes your perspective.”
We loved what Adrian shared about his wife, Betsy’s role in his career.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
“She is more of an assistant coach. She was more of a cheerleader when we first got married. But I didn’t want the pity. When I had a bad game, I didn’t want her to say, ‘That’s okay, you’re going to be alright.’ She turned more into an assistant coach and now she says, ‘You’ve got to do better. You’ve got to put work in. You’ve got to pick it up.’ She is an incredible person. She is most of the reason for why I am where I am at today.”
Adrian also shared how they pursue Christ in their marriage and family.
“We are always living for the Lord. Everything we do is based on what we learn from the Bible and through Bible teachings. Respect and honor. We’ve got to love each other. For me, I have to love her like Christ loved the church. And she is going to take that love and affection and send it back towards me. We look towards Christ to make each other happy, not each other. We try to live as holy as we can each and every day.”
Whether you are a die-hard fan or just enjoy the Cracker Jacks at the ballpark, many baseball teams host faith nights, where players share their testimonies after the game. It is a great opportunity to take your friends, family or teammates to a game that might not otherwise visit church to hear about what it means to have a relationship with Christ from some of their favorite players, including Adrian Gonzalez. Adrian’s story is a good reminder of the power of teammates living their faith out, inviting a teammate to a Bible study or outreach and then using that platform to share their faith.
Who or what do you give glory to? Whether it is an athletic game, work of art, your career or a hobby, it is important for us to give credit to God. He is the one that gave us our gifts, talents and abilities. Pray and ask God to show you how to explain your work to others. Research other athletes, celebrities or speakers that have a similar background as you to see how they share their story.
Invite your teammates and friends out to a faith night or sports-related outreach event. Pray and ask God to open their hearts to attending. Be willing to offer people a ride and go out for a bite afterwards to talk about what they experienced.
Do an outreach with your teammates or friends! You don’t have to wait for someone else to put on an outreach. Ask a local pastor or Fellowship of Christian athletes coach to help you out. You can have a local collegiate athlete or someone the team looks up to share their testimony or even one of the players. There are also many testimonies of Christian athletes online that you can use. You can do the outreach after a game or practice at a teammate’s house. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Pray and ask God to give you wisdom and direction and that your friends or teammates would come out.
To read our entire interview with LA Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, click here.
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