I decided NOT to meet one of my heroes.
By Matt Knapp
It was May 2013, I had just turned 30, and I decided NOT to meet one of my heroes. Let me tell you why.
A LITTLE BACK STORY
During my twenties, before Instagram and TikTok, all of my millennial friends and I had blogs. I remember the night before I turned 30 I wrote a post about all that had happened in my twenties. I think I wrote it more for myself than anyone, just to be thankful for what God had done and to give myself confidence as I entered a new decade. One of the things I mentioned was my work with International Justice Mission (an faith based NGO) to create a resource for youth groups to introduce them to the calling of seeking justice for individuals and communities across the globe.
Now, I had met an author (Mike King) back in 2007 and we became Facebook friends. By 2013 Mike had started working with Not For Sale and Generation Alive; two organizations in the Bay Area that also sought to rally people around the pursuit of justice. When he read my post he reached out, told me he was in town, and wanted to know if I wanted to grab lunch with him in the city. He told me that we were going to meet up with someone else though – Jeremy Affeldt.
If you weren’t a San Francisco Giants fan from 2009-2015, that name means nothing to you. But Jeremy Affeldt has long been one of my heroes. Not only because he helped lead my favorite baseball team to three World Series Championships as a pitcher, but also because he was a Christian and invested in the cause of helping teenagers think outside of themselves and build a more just world.
I was going to get to each lunch with Jeremy Affeldt – one of my heroes in baseball, youth ministry, and the justice seeking community!
WHY I SAID NO
There was just one issue. I already made lunch plans with one of the teenagers in my youth group. In fact this lunch was a lunch I had to previously reschedule because something came up the first time. I loved this kid, and he was hurting, and reached out to me to talk. Because I cared about him so much, I said no to lunch with my hero. Ugh that hurt. But the kid was hurting more.
I don’t share the story to impress you, but to remind you that sometimes you have to decide to care about someone enough to be inconvenienced.
On Sunday, we talked about the importance of being someone who cares for at least three other people in your life. Will you be care enough about them to act? To be inconvenienced? To not give up when it gets difficult or something better comes along? That’s one of the best ways to share God’s love with them.
So who are those three people in your life that you care for? What are the barriers in their life? How can you help? To help you identify three people and focus on how you can care for them, download this document and fill it out. Then put it somewhere where you will see it often to remind you about your “Three’s.”
(Fun fact. I had the honor of officiating that kid’s wedding few years ago.)