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AN AMAZING FACT: Jackie Robinson is one of the greatest sports heroes of all time. An African-American baseball player, he is regarded as a sporting legend. In 1947 he became the first black player in major league baseball. He was elected the National League’s most valuable player in 1949. He was also inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, the first black person to gain this honor.
Who is the greatest sport athlete of all-time? There are lots of opinions, of course, but some of the top stars might include Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Johnny Unitas, Nile Kinnick, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Joe DiMaggio, Billie Jean King, and the entire 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. But how could we forget David Robinson, Walter Payton, Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali, Wilt Chamberlain, Cal Ripken, Lance Armstrong, Jesse Owens, Arnold Palmer, Arthur Ashe, or Ted Williams?
There are many lists of greatest sports heroes of all time, and it’s interesting that none of them exactly agree. Almost all of them are about adult men and women who can throw the farthest, jump the highest, hit the hardest, or run the fastest. How do you judge who is the greatest sports hero? By the number of trophies or touchdowns? Perhaps it is by the number of medals or records broken.
Jesus overhead His disciples arguing one day about “who is the greatest.” “And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child and set him by Him, and said to them, ‘Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great’” (Luke 9:47, 48).
God’s measurement of the greatest is different from man’s. Our Lord sees greatness in humble service. You put yourself at the top of His list by bowing low in service. You are lifted up when you kneel down. The next time you think about the greatest sports heroes of all time, think about how many are willing to sacrifice self in order to lift up others.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.