The movie “42” is the story of legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson, who was the first African American to play major league baseball (Brooklyn Dodgers). He played in six World Series games and drove in the winning score in the deciding game of the 1955 World Series championship game. Jackie was noted for his heady plays, his tenacity, and his amazing ability to steal bases. But, most of all, Jackie Robinson was known for his character. Even in the thick of racist ridicule and criticism, hateful acts and discrimination, Jackie demonstrated temperance.
How did he do it? Did he know how hard it would be to be the first black major league baseball player?
One of the most interesting scenes in the movie is when Jackie is in a meeting with the president of the Dodgers, Branch Rickey. Rickey is telling Jackie what he needs to do in order for the team to succeed. He says:
“People aren’t going to like this … they’ll do anything to get you to react. Echo a curse with a curse and they’ll hear only yours. Follow a blow with a blow and they’ll say the Negro lost his temper. Your enemy will be out in force and you can’t beat him on his own low ground … Like Our Savior, you gotta have the guts to turn the other cheek. Will you?”
After a pause Jackie replies, “Give me a uniform, give me a number on my back, and I’ll give you the guts.”
There seemed to be eternity in that pause. Jackie had to take a moment to do a heart check. He had to count the cost! Though he had no idea what it would really be like, he had to consider that times would be hard and difficult. There would be times when it would be more painful to live out his passion for baseball than it would be fun. He was being offered the opportunity of a lifetime ... but, it had a heavy cost.
Jesus Christ has offered us, the entire world, the opportunity of a lifetime. He offers us the gift of becoming sons and daughters of the Most High God, enjoying a relationship with Him, the Creator of everything, and living with Him forever. Like all relationships, following Jesus requires commitment; and all commitments require sacrifice. Jesus sacrificed His life, endured the shame of the Cross, and bore our sins in His sinless body so that we could have life to the full (cf. Hebrews 12:2; John 10:10). What are you willing to sacrifice, endure, and bear in order to live the life that Jesus died for?
"Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?" (Luke 14:27-28).