Mariano Rivera. Seventeen years with the New York Yankees. 41 years old. Eleven-time All Star. Five-time World Series Champion. 566 saves as a closer.
What's really amazing is at his age, when he comes in to close the game at 41, every batter knows what pitch he's going to throw--the cutter--but it doesn't matter. They can't hit it. He can put it anywhere he wants. He personifies pin-point-accuracy. He consistently plays at a level that few have ever played the game. His is the art of closing. It is amazing.
He nailed the game shut against the great-hitting Texas Rangers last night to win that series 2-1.
I walked away thinking, "Wow--to be the Mariano Rivera of...of...ANYTHING!"
What an elusive distinction in out culture: to focus in on one thing, to the point of having mastery. How many people do you know like that? I know people who are good, have amazing talent--but being "Mariano" in something is an altogether higher level of achievement.
Perhaps his good fortune has been to be paid to work on one thing. Or perhaps his working on one thing created his good fortune. Perhaps some of both combined with the grace of God and untold amounts of time refining a gift.
What are we working on, really? I know we're working and putting time in. I know we're sweating physically or figuratively. But is there something in life that we're giving our leveraged focus to?
I don't have any good answers today, just good questions. So in the wake of Mariano's close last night I greet this day convicted and a little fuzzy.
What did God design me to be the Mariano of? He hasn't put me here to throw cutters, but indeed, He has given you and me an ability to be a world class closer of something.
Will we seek to know what it is? Or will we seek to simply stay busy?
Thank you Lord, for Mariano's cutter...and for hitting me with conviction this day...