Last Tuesday evening in Anaheim, the All Stars from the American and National Leagues had been introduced and were being cheered as they were on display down the first and third baselines. But there was another group as well—standing in the infield between the pitcher’s mound and home plate. Like the players set to compete in the midsummer classic, they too were wearing a variety of major league jerseys, and they too were being honored. But, they were not ballplayers. They were introduced as the “All Stars Among Us.” With one representative of each MLB team’s home area, these all stars were people who had given of themselves to make a difference in their communities. It was very moving as these “ordinary folk” were honored, not for skills on the diamond but for their skills and devotion in helping others. I commend Major League Baseball for this vivid reminder that, even at the All Star game, there is more to life than the games we play and watch.
As I reflect on watching them, many with tears in their eyes, I am reminded of one of Christ’s most moving parables—the “good Samaritan.” In Luke 10:25-37, in response to a selfishly motivated question from a religious leader, Jesus explains what it means to love your neighbor, and it boils down to this: The neighbor was the one who showed mercy to a hurting person, though that person was a total stranger. His point? Giving of yourself to help others displays the mercy and compassion of our loving heavenly Father, and points us to priorities more important than what we can do to satisfy self. The good Samaritan was a true neighbor, and a true All Star—now, whose neighbor will I be?
Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain