He played in the big leagues for nineteen years, including fourteen with the Houston Astros, was a career .295 hitter, two-time All-Star and holds the distinction of scoring the millionth run in Major League Baseball in 1975. He helped guide the New York Yankees to a World Series title in 1996.
Now Bob Watson, who is 71, is battling for his life.
Bob is fighting kidney failure and undergoes dialysis three times a week. He’s battled health issues since retiring in 1984 with circulatory issues, hypertension and prostate cancer. “Ten months ago,” Bob said, “the doctors told me I could have two years or 12. Well now I’ve gotten to the point where every day I’m still here is a blessing.” 1
Recently, he turned down two lifesaving offers of a new kidney … from his own children. “Both my kids offered to donate kidneys to me,” said Watson, the first African-American general manager to win a World Series title. “And I told them both the same thing: ‘I’ve had a good life and I don’t want to take a kidney from young people who really need them and still have their whole lives ahead of them.’ That would be very selfish on my part. I’ve lived a real good life, and I’m ready for whatever happens now.” 2
There are several reasons why this story caught my attention:
1) Spring Training has just begun and hope permeates every player on every practice field for every one of the thirty teams in Major League Baseball.
2) The grace and gratitude of a man who recognizes how blessed he’s been.
3) The love of a father for his kids.
4) The love of two kids for their dad.
5) The fact is we’re all making a home run, whether we realize it or not.
One day, not long ago, Bob Watson was in the prime of his life playing a game he loved with passion, enjoying the perks and privileges that come with success in Major League Baseball. Today, the game goes on without him as he sits in a chair enduring dialysis treatment three times a week, not knowing how many days, weeks, months or years he may have left. Soon, this game called life will come to an end for Bob … and for all of us.
Sooner than you think, we’ll all be headed home.
Isaiah 40:7-9 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
The fact is we’re all making a home run, whether we realize it or not.
There are only two possible destinations for all of us: Heaven or Hell (Matthew 25:46; John 3:16; Revelation 20:11-15), and only One way to get to Heaven – JESUS (John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”)
On Wednesday, thanks to Jay Miller and Deacon Jones, I had the privilege of speaking with Bob Watson. What a gracious Christian gentleman and what an encouragement his life and testimony is to me and should be to all of us. I’m praying for him and hope you will join me. We could use a world full of Bob Watsons.
The Bible says, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
Until we’re ready for that final home run … we’re not ready to play ball.
© 2018. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.