Branch Rickey: Laboring to Fill Another’s Call
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. ~Galatians 6:2 (NLT)
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”—“a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. ~ Mark 1:2-3 (NIV)
Often when we think of American sports and industry heroes we think about those in the spotlight. We think of the Michael Jordan’s, the Tiger Woods’ or the Steve Jobs’ of the world. We tend to forget that there was a Scottie Pippen for Jordan, a caddy for Woods and a Steve Wozniak for Jobs. Each one of these men had a co-laborer to help them carry out the work. Wesley Branch Rickey was such a man.
Branch Rickey was a Kingdom Man and the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, a popular, but “lovable loser” baseball team in the 1940s. Driven by his faith, he came to believe, early in his career, that Major League Baseball’s (MLB) ban on black players was wrong. So in 1945 as the owner of a ball club, he set out to radically change the system. Innovation and disruption were not foreign concepts to Rickey. In the 1920s he created the system to develop aspiring and promising players in to major league ball players still known today as the “farm system”. But this is not the achievement for which he has been most notably remembered. Even as it has had an impact on hundreds of thousands of ball players and billions of dollars for MLB. No, the achievement for which he is known is signing Jackie Robinson to a MLB contract and defying the cultural status quo that said he shouldn’t and couldn’t do it.
Branch Rickey’s greatest legacy is helping someone else create their legacy. He was in the trenches co-laboring with Robinson, but it is Robinson who is on the front lines and a household name. But if not for Rickey and his boldness to do make hard but right choices and stand shoulder to shoulder with his man, then we don’t get to know of Robinson’s greatness, and the Dodgers never win the pennant.
As Kingdom Men we are called to stand in the gap. Stanzas 4 & 5 of our creed remind us to break down barriers, free others from strongholds and do our work with diligence and excellence. Each one of us is being propelled by our faith. For some of us, we have haven’t figured out where God is pushing us. We don’t know what He wants us to do. Perhaps the thing you are to do to is to be like John the Baptist, and make away for someone else to do what God has called them to do.
Today’s Training: Who has shared an idea or vision with you, that when you heard it you thought, “I can help with that.” An idea that you knew was too grand for them to carry on their own. Did you help? Why or Why Not? Ask God to allow your to revisit those opportunities or to present new ones to you. Father, use me to make away for someone else to do what you have called them to do. In Jesus name, Amen.