Success That Counts

Sports illustrated couldn’t be­lieve it. Orel Hershiser, a right-handed pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, finished the 1988 season with 23 wins, eight losses and a record-breaking 59 consecutive innings with­out surrendering a single run.

Leading his team to victory in the World Series, he is the first pitcher in history to earn the Most Valuable Player Award in both the League Championships and the Series.

Following the season, he was decorated with Sports Illustrated’s Most Valuable Baseball Player Award, the Sporting New’s Major League Player of the Year, and the Cy Young Award.

An amazing accomplishment for a man who by his own admission is an ordinary athlete with an extraor­dinary determination. In his own words Hershiser explains the source of his incredible success:

“My greatest motivation for personal excellence is a willingness to submit myself to God and say, ‘I’m going to be the best I can be for You! Christianity has freed me up because I don’t have to worry when I fail. I don’t have to worry about what to­morrow brings, because all tomorrow brings is God and me, and doing my best with the talent He’s given me. That’s success – whether or not I win or lose the game.

“There are two different kinds of success as I see it. The success that the world sees of winning and losing and making a lot of money; driving a nice car, living in a big house; the success of having a pretty wife and a nice family and a lot of friends and good health. But then there’s also an inner success that you can have, an inner peace, and I think that success comes from the Lord.

“I thought I had everything before I accepted the Lord. Then I ran into Butch Wickensheimer who told me that I didn’t. I went to Christian meetings with him and read the Bible just to find something to prove him wrong so I didn’t have to choose Christianity. But as I got to know Butch, I wanted to try it. It was something he had, and I didn’t. I was kind of jealous.

“So one day after being with Butch and figuring out that he can’t do it for me (accept Jesus Christ as Savior), and my parents can’t do it for me – I’ve got to do it – I said, ‘God, I don’t know everything about You, but I’ve learned that I’m a sinner. I’ve learned that I can’t go to Heaven without Your Son Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made. I want that, and I accept Him into my life.’ From that little prayer on, I’ve been a Christian, and I know it. No bangs, no whistles, no fireworks.”

Would you like to personally share in the secret of Orel Hershiser’s inner success? Life – filled with God’s power and direction -will be yours if you will turn to Christ. The Bible promises that whoever believes in Him has “eternal life” and “shall receive forgiveness of sins.” (John 3:36). If you refuse, you’re a loser forever.

Today you can become a winner by believing that Jesus Christ took your place on the Cross so that your sins can be forgiven, and rose from the dead so that you can have new life.

If you believe this, confess to God that you have sinned and that you want Jesus Christ to be your Saviour. He is ready to answer your prayer now. Jesus promises, “Whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24)