“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” – (Matthew 16:24-26 NIV)
Cal Ripken Jr. played 2,632 consecutive baseball games for the Baltimore Orioles. Think about that. I could not imagine going a single year without missing a day of work, let alone the 16 years it took Ripken to earn his nickname as the “Iron Man.”
Ripken played through injuries, weather, and fatigue to set a record that is unlikely to ever be broken. Besides Lou Gehrig (2,130 consecutive games), the person closest to Ripken has less than half of the Hall of Fame Orioles infielder (1,307). No current player Major League Baseball player has played more than 300 consecutive games.
I realize this can be a contentious topic, as there were a number of abnormal occurrences that played into Ripken’s streak. For example, a game against the Seattle Mariners on August 14, 2017 was canceled due to a power failure. You may also remember the Major League Baseball strike of 1994 that canceled around 50 games for every team.
Cal Ripken caught breaks on his way to his record. He did not give up, he did not give in. But he may not have achieved “Iron Man” status without circumstances going his way from time to time. He was very fortunate in so many ways.
God does not promise that things will always go well for us. Is that where you thought this was going? Sure, it is possible that your life may be mostly full of blessings and opportunities to pour those blessings out to others. But the Bible calls us to be willing to sacrifice, and even suffer, for the cause of Christ.
Regardless of our hard times, we need to stay focused and persevere. Peter says that we should praise God for any suffering we receive in the name of Jesus. We see throughout the New Testament the stories of Christ’s followers sharing the gospel at all costs, and even continuing to do so after being beaten, stoned, and flogged.
While I pray none of you have to endure such physical anguish, I do believe that we must all be willing to seek Christ no matter what obstacles are put in our way. Our streak of being obedient must continue despite any hardships that we suffer. His eternal glory should eclipse all temporary suffering that we must endure.
– Jamie Boggs
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