It is dumbfounding how often professional athletes are hailed as heroes. Most of the time this is unfounded and for shallow reasons. Usually these athletes soak it all in and even egg it on. Despite these marks of arrogance, there are occasional selfless acts which deserve praise.
When the World Series came to an end this year, shortstop Edgar Renteria was named the World Series MVP. Renteria is a native of Colombia and has been idolized there for some time. With this being the case and his recent MVP award, his home country was going to plan celebrations and parades in his honor. However, Renteria humbly asked that they cancel any parties or parades for him.
Why would he do something like this? Why not just soak in all of this praise and adoration as a hero? As it turns out, northern Colombia has been devastated by floods lately. It is estimated that 900,000 people are currently homeless. With this in mind, Renteria asked that any available money that would have been spent in his honor instead be used to help out those in need. In fact, the whole reason Renteria even said this publically was to raise awareness of Colombia’s situation and hopefully encourage others to help as well.
I do not know much else about Renteria’s character, but this was an incredibly selfless act. It is so easy in this life to become centered on ourselves. It is all about what “I want,” what “I need,” and what “you can do for me.” It is nice to see someone putting himself aside for others.
As we know, this is a biblical concept. We are told to put God first (Matthew 22:37; Deuteronomy 6:5) and others above ourselves (Mathew 22:38; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8; etc). Now, you probably will not have to turn down a massive celebration thrown by an entire country in your honor. If you do, I would like to have your autograph. However, there are little acts we can do everyday to put others before self. We know ways to do this, but many times we fail to do them.
It is easy to get caught up in ourselves. We do live in a very self-centered society. It can be hard to put our own wants and desires aside to help someone else. But this is exactly what God wants us to do. Whether it is as big as turning down a country’s celebration, or just helping out our family and friends, let’s look for those opportunities where we can do something good for others and put them above ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4).