High or low, expectations are different for all of us. Whether you admit it or not, we set them for others as well. Sometime too high and sometimes too low, but when you come out of college with a .473 batting average (HIGHEST in NCAA history), named by Baseball America as College Player of the year, and win the Golden Spikes award… you are setting yourself up for some awfully high expectations. Rickie Weeks of the Milwaukee Brewers came out of college with all kinds of expectations set on him by the world, but his most important stat is measured by faith.
Rickie Weeks was born and raised in Florida in a Christian home. “I’ve been a believer as long as I can remember. My Mom is still a pastor at God’s House of Ministries in Orlando Florida. I don’t get back during the season very much because of the schedule, but that is my home church when I do get back home.” Even though he was raised with a great foundation, it wasn’t always easy. “I’m not going to sit here and say that I am a ‘Holier than thou person’. I’ve made my share of mistakes, but it says in the Bible ‘If you believe that I am the Lord and you have faith in me then you are saved’. All I can say is I thank God for His grace.” Rickie had talent and with that talent a hard work ethic that allowed him to go to college at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His hard work, faith and God given talent paid off.
Rickie was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2003 and has been with the same team for his entire career. Rickie became a full time player for the Brew Crew in 2005. With such a decorated college career and a rising professional career Rickie could have easily let the world control his path. “When you get drafted, and with it comes the money and with it comes fame and with that comes all kinds of distractions I guess. Whether it’s from family members you haven’t heard from in Lord knows how long, or women, or so called friends; there’s a lot of stuff that gets thrown at you when you sign that first big contract or opportunity. Without the right foundation of God it would be tough to persevere through that.” That is true, but it had to be a pretty cool feeling seeing his name on a jersey being worn by someone else for the first time. “Oh it was great man! Obviously you know, growing up seeing guys you watch playing on TV that are your favorite players whether it’s football, basketball, or baseball you would go out and buy them and wear them. Now to see someone don your name on the back of a jersey… It’s a cool thing to see.”
Being part of the world can make it hard to stay sharp in your walk with Christ. Money and fame can become intoxicating. “When you have everything that you could ever want it can make it tough to focus on God if you don’t try. There are things as a believer that you need to hold steadfast to, but with money you can buy anything and a lot of it can be far from what God would want! You have to stay focused on God and stay true to your faith. I am not going to say I have done everything right or will do everything right, but you have to be a light that shines and be a good example to others as a believer.” Rickie has been able to influence other with his walk and he uses the most important tools to achieve this. “I have to stay sharp in my faith and that is done with a whole lot of prayer and reading my Bible. It’s important to have a routine and stay there. You know growing up, my Mom and Dad always said, ‘Stay strong in the word and read your Bible. Stay prayerful and faithful!’ So when you would find yourself getting into a situation whether it is good or bad, you always know that God is there for you. It’s something that has always been instilled in me and I’ve always tried to walk down that path.” Rickie also took a moment to think about how his life would be different if he were in the same scenario, but without Christ in it. “Oh man! You have times in life where you are in predicaments you know when you are at this level with the money the fame the fortune and all the stuff like that and if I didn’t have God in my life there’s no telling what I’d have gotten into. But I also think a lot of what has happened (success) to me is because I do have God in my life. My Grandmother always said to pray for wisdom and clarity so you say and do the right thing and don’t get yourself in a bigger predicament. So I do and that’s been the best thing for me.”
Rickie has enjoyed a lot of success and God has blessed him abundantly. Along with the right foundation of Christ and support of his family Rickie attributes his success to a strong work ethic. “You have to work at it every day and be a relentless worker. You have to outwork that next person because when you get passed high school and then college there’s not much that separates you from the next guy trying to get to the next level. It’s always the hard workers and ones who are willing to learn that get recognized. So, beyond your faith, it comes down to who works the hardest. And of course God’s will.”
And with the hard work and recognition comes great expectations. And when God blesses us with great gifts He expects great results. 2 Corinthians 8:5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. Rickie, may God continue to bless you and use you to expand His kingdom. I think that would satisfy His expectations.