Good morning. My name is Kirk Nascimento and I am humbled to share the contribution message. Please open your Bibles to Luke 16:8-9.
The Roberto Clemente Award
Recently, my nine year old son told me that Babe Ruth was no longer his favorite baseball player. When I asked him why, he stated that Babe Ruth partied too much and he wanted to have a favorite player that worked hard and has character.
Roberto Clemente was the first Latino player to have 3000 hits. But he is known for much more than that. He stated that he believed that he was built by God to play baseball. Roberto Clemente played the game with passion and flair, as if every game was his last. He was also known for his use of his wealth and status to help people, specifically poor people. He would pass away in a plane crash as he was flying to Nicaragua to serve earthquake victims.
Annually, the Roberto Clemente Award is given to players who have served their communities. Players who have received this award have shared that it is the award they are most proud of, because it is about others and what they have done with what they have been given.
In Luke 16:1-7, Jesus discusses a manager who was accused of wasting a rich man’s possessions. He was told to give an account of the rich man’s possessions. The manager realized that his job was about to end and began settling the bills of the debtors for a fraction of what was owed.
Verse 8 states, “The master commended the dishonest manager because he acted shrewdly. For, the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly weath to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”
The manager was commended for realizing that the “gig was up” and planned for the future.
Sometimes I think, “why would the rich man put this guy in charge of his wealth“. But the truth is, we are put in charge of all that God has given us.
And it is our charge to leave a legacy with this wealth, as well as all that God has given us. As we give to God, let us think about the ways our money will outlast us in our giving.
Father, you trust us with so much – much more responsibility than we deserve. We pray that just as Roberto Clemente was able to leave a legacy, we too can leave a legacy in our schools, jobs, neighborhoods, teams and especially our families. Please use our money for things that will last beyond our life and ouor own giving. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
On Albert Pujols’ website, you can read his response to receiving the 2008 Roberto Clement Award. Here is an exerpt.
“[This is] a blessing, and I’m really honored,” Pujols said. “First of all, I want to thank God to give me the opportunity to be here tonight and receive this award. I want to thank Major League Baseball and Chevy to be a part of this great award of Roberto Clemente. I want to thank my teammates, obviously, for the support that they give me during the year — every event that we do for Down syndrome or golf tournament — the fans in St. Louis and all over the United States and the Dominican Republic for the support that they give to the Pujols Family Foundation. I want to thank the Roberto Clemente family. I’m truly honored to receive this award. It’s an honor to be here.”
“It takes a lot of hard work for the Pujols Family Foundation, but it comes from our heart. I thank God every day for the opportunity he gives me to be in the big leagues and just take advantage of every little opportunity. I remember as a little boy in the Dominican Republic, all I want is to be in the big leagues. All I wanted was just to be a professional baseball player. I never thought this dream was going to come true and so quick in eight years.”
“[Clemente] was not only a great baseball player — everybody on this day remembers Roberto Clemente as a great baseball player, but we today remember him as a great man that loved other people and gave back to the community, whether in Pittsburgh or Nicaragua or Latin America or Puerto Rico. And I feel that’s my responsibility, too, not just to be a baseball player, but to give back to others, whether in St. Louis or the United States or back in the Dominican Republic every year with our trip through the Pujols Family Foundation.”
“At the end of the day, when all is said and done playing this game … it doesn’t matter what you did in the field, it’s what you do off the field and the lives that you touch off the field. And I try to do that through our Foundation. I try to do that when I go back to the Dominican Republic.”
Albert has since been asked, “If you could ask Roberto Clemente one question, what would it be?“
Without hesitation Albert retorted, “Why did you go? Why did you get on that plane to serve those people in Nicaragua who you did not know and had never met?”
“I would ask him that question, because I know what he would say; ‘Because it was my responsibility’. I feel the same way. It is my responsibility”.
Today, sitting alone in a place of honor, centered over the fireplace in the Pujols’ home is a constant reminder that some things in life are bigger than the game, bigger than ourselves. Some things are worth living for and even dying for.
Most things we do out of want. Some things we do out of need and very few we do out of responsibility.
Those are the things that last.