Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Clayton and Ellen Kershaw Strike Out to Serve

Whether you are a loyal fan or just enjoy the ballpark hot dogs, summer baseball games are a great excuse to round up the small group, family or group of friends for a fun outing. But instead of being just a spectator, LA Dodger Clayton Kershaw is challenging fans to get in the game! Clayton not only donates $100 for every strike out he throws, but he also challenges others to make a difference through “Kershaw’s Challenge,” which helps at-risk children and neighborhoods.

In addition to winning the Pitching Triple Crown, Golden Glove and the Cy Young Award, LA Dodgers pitcher, Clayton has also been honored with the Roberto Clemente Award and the Branch Rickey Award for his humanitarian work. Clayton and his wife, Ellen, launched “Kershaw’s Challenge,” which includes an orphanage in Zambia. We interviewed Clayton and Ellen four years ago and talked with them about their faith and how they started the orphanage.

Clayton explains how he wants Christ to be a part of every aspect of his life instead of just one area.

“The ultimate goal is to try and fit Jesus into every part of my life. I think that is a good basis to put Jesus in everything you’re doing instead of just making him one part of your life. I’m on the baseball field 10 hours a day…so if you just go by time management, baseball is the biggest priority in my life. I think if you put Jesus in the center of everything that you’re doing, he will get the glory and in turn you will feel a lot more centered in your own life too.”

 “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14

Clayton’s wife, Ellen shares how they started Hope’s Home in Zambia after several trips to Africa.

“I had met a girl named Hope years ago, and Clayton got to meet and get to know her these past couple of trips. We had been fostering her and it’s been a huge blessing in our lives to see the growth in her life. To see what can happen when you provide a child with education, medicine, and the food that they need. Over the course of our visits, I think we continued to see that something very important was missing in her life and that was a home to go to at night, and parents that would love and nurture her and empower her to be the chancer her country needs, and to be whoever she wants to be and reach her potential. And so for Clayton and I, it was pretty simple natural commitment that the Lord was leading us to. We needed to build a home for kids where they could really feel loved and nurtured and reach their potential. We came home [from that trip] and it was Clayton’s idea to do “Strike-out to Serve.” He wanted to donate $100 for every strike-out he made towards this project of building “Hope’s Home.” That’s how it all started.” 

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

Ellen reminds us of the purpose that God has given each of us to fulfill.

“We all have a platform; we all have a really important purpose that the Lord puts in each of us. I think that it’s never too early to start speaking out and to start putting that into action. Clayton and I are just like everyone else. I don’t think that we see ourselves any different from any other 24 or 25-year-old. I think that we both had a very normal upbringing and we were both raised in the church. I think we both have a personal faith. I think too many times we wait until we are financially secure or we are career bound or excelling in different ways or until we figure out what our passion is. I also think we feel inadequate and that someone else will do a better job of it. What is important to take away, is that the Lord is the only way to be fulfilled.”

Risen Reflections

Allow God to be a part of every aspect of your life. From your friendships to your finances, God wants you to put Him first. Rather than limit our time with God to Sunday at church or our reading the Bible, allow God to be the center of your life in everything that you do. Take time this week and ask God if there are areas of your life that you need to hand over to Him. Then be willing to be obedient.

Get in the game! You don’t have to go overseas to be a witness for Christ. God wants you to share your life and the Gospel with your teammates, classmates, co-workers, friends and family. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you who to talk to and give you the words to say. Use your gifts, talents and experiences as a platform for Christ, there might even be an opportunity to start a non-profit or ministry that you are passionate about like the Kershaws.

Live out your purpose. Whether you are ten-years-old or ninety-years-old, God has a purpose for your life. Don’t let others discourage or criticize you because of your age or lack of experience. Turn to Him through prayer and the Bible for encouragement and direction. Throughout the Bible, there are examples of times that God using unqualified people to accomplish His purposes.

To read our entire interview with LA Dodger Clayton Kershaw and his wife Ellen click here.

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