Mike used an acrostic, EDGES, to define his idea of a well-rounded ball player, but the applications crossed the spectrum to anyone who is a spouse, parent, pastor, beekeeper, ordinary Christian, elder, businessman, or successful manager of a major league ball team.
The E in EDGES stood for EDUCATION. “Leaders are learners,” he said, and, “When you’re through learning, you’re through.”
The D stood for DISCIPLINE. Mike added, “It’s not the most talented players that make the big leagues, it’s those who know to discipline themselves and channel that talent by their commitment to go from being GOOD to being GREAT. I have no need for good ball players. We need players willing to work to be great.” He also said, “You got a whole lot of people wanting your spot on the team. What are you going to do different to keep that spot?”
The G stood for GOALS. He challenged the audience to look at our goals, those written and spoken things we say we’re going to do, those things we say are important to us. Then he said to match up our up what we say with the “pictures” of our life, the actions that reveal our commitment to our goals. Does what we say match up with what we do? Is what I’m doing match up with what I’m talking about?
The E stood for ENERGY. Quoting Colin Powell, “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier,” meaning the positive energy we put into something draws others to us, draws success to us.
Finally, the S stands for SERVING OTHERS, which requires a great degree of selflessness. “But,” he countered, “do not think that selflessness is thinking less of yourself, it means thinking of yourself, less.” How many times do we think about doing something and it really is all about us? How many times do we, as a church, think about how our actions will serve us? How many times do I, as a community chaplain doing a wedding or funeral for a non-churched family, begin to think, “Maybe if I do a good job, they’ll start coming to my church?”
Yep, such thinking is all about me. Why not embrace a little altruistic servanthood and do it for them, with no regard to what it costs me or what I may potentially gain from such actions? Why not do everything, as if we were doing it unto Jesus himself? Paul raised that issue for a class of people who were under the obligation to serve their earthly master, but he challenged them to do it joyfully and without regard to their reward. (Colossians 3:22-25)
It was quite an evening, spent with Mike as he shared aspects of his faith, his family and the incredible opportunity he has as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. He lasting quote reflects his Christian faith when he summed up his life, “Don’t waste the platform you’ve been given,” implying that God opens a number of doors for us, and for those doors in my life, I’m grateful.