Sparky Anderson, long time manager of the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit tigers, recently entered Hospice care due to complications from advanced dementia. Known as the nicest guy in baseball, Sparky Anderson is a role model for us all.
Now, I’m not a fan of baseball and I don’t know much about Sparky Anderson – I don’t know if he was a Christian or if there is any particular religious belief he holds to. I do know this: his reputation is as good as gold. And that’s worth something. It’s worth quite a lot in fact.
As followers of Jesus Christ we should make our personal reputation a top priority. The apostle Paul said we should, seek not only God’s approval of our integrity, but man’s also (2 Corinthians 8:21, Weymouth Paraphrase). This is so because we may be the only “Jesus” other people see. We carry the name of Christ and we have the responsibility to do so with honor.
I am disappointed when I see an outspoken opponent of Christianity behave better than his equally outspoken counterparts. Frankly, Christians who do not bother themselves with obeying the Bible would be better off if they stayed home, out of the public eye. Their witness is uneven (at best) and they do damage to the cause of Christ rather than support it. I realize that none of us are perfect; yet none of us should neglect our responsibility to maintain a good reputation.
The essence of a good Christian witness thinking of others more highly than our-self. We must be willing to sacrifice our personal peace and comfort for the sake of others. We must be willing to serve even when it is inconvenient. Our love must be active rather than mere emotion.
I didn’t know Sparky Anderson personally and I can’t say I closely followed his major league baseball career. Nevertheless, I have no qualms about recommending his public example to my fellow Christians. It’s a good thing to be known as the “nicest man …in major league baseball” or whatever your field of endeavor. The Lord Jesus would be pleased.
sources: Mike Lopresti, USA Today