The Calling of Jackie Robinson

Despite being an avid baseball fan, I’ve never really paid too much attention to Jackie Robinson Day. I acknowledge it, appreciate it, and take heart knowing how one man can change the face of an entire sport for an entire nation, but… that’s it and the next day I’ve stopped thinking about it.

This year; however, with the release of the film “’42,” I’ve paid a bit more attention. Yesterday on Meet the Press, Ken Burns talked about how Jackie Robinson felt called by God to play baseball to break the color barrier. That really struck me: he didn’t play baseball for fame and fortune or for prideful reasons, but instead because he was faithful to where God wanted him to be.

At a recent class at church, my table was assigned to define what it means to truly be in God’s service and heed His calling. Ignoring the fact that I misunderstood the assignment and embarrassed my table by providing too abbreviated an answer, I think that part of the (too short) answer was especially relevant here: go where you feel led, even if (and perhaps especially if) it’s outside of your comfort zone. I think it’s safe to say that’s precisely what Jackie did.

I pray (almost) daily that I will recognize and follow where God wants to lead me. Am I to provide low-cost legal services to parents and families? Am I to write? Am I to stay at home and focus on my family? Is it a combination of the above?

I find that I oftentimes go too far too fast with where I feel led, not letting things develop slowly, prayerfully, and faithfully, but instead strive for instant “excellence.” This could range from over-spending on developing my law office, focusing too much on Martha Stewart perfection as a homemaker and mom, or becoming too distracted from my husband and children as I submit articles and poetry to publications. It becomes a “me” thing instead of a “God” thing.

I don’t know if Robinson fell prey to similar self-focused action or not. But I do know that to persevere through the struggles he faced was an amazing thing, and I have no doubt his faith was critical to that success.

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