To no one’s surprise, the New York Yankees signed Japanese star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka this week to a 7-year, $155 million contract. Analysts from Fangraphs to ESPN have written about the deal. It certainly seems to help the Yankees for the foreseeable future.

As always, baseball provides a great springboard into life lessons. Here are a few from the Tanaka signing.

1. We are learning to do nothing and expect to be paid as if we’ve done everything. Tanaka, while being touted as a perennial star in the Big Leagues, has still yet to throw a pitch for the Yankees. Even so, he is the fifth-highest paid pitcher (per Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal) in baseball. It’s really a microcosm of our society. Show up. Have potential. Expect to get paid.

I’m not saying Tanaka is arrogant or has a sense of entitlement. Not at all. I don’t know him and could not make such assumptions. However, the idea that a person needs only to have a good reputation or “scouting report” to expect huge money before performing is absurd. We see this in our society all the time: people of all ages and backgrounds have, in some cases, gotten to the point where working hard, learning contentment and respect, and proving oneself are antiquated and dismissed. We live in an age of entitlement…and that will one day destroy us. Stay humble and hungry…like Jesus said in Matthew 5.

2. Those who have earned it don’t always get it. See: Mike Trout of the Angels. He’s the best player in the game (not debatable) and is making league minimum salary. Sometimes, you’ve earned it, you’ve worked for it, and you still don’t get what you deserve. Sometimes, a guy who’s done nothing gets what you deserve. Life’s not fair. The sooner we come to grips with that, the sooner we can get on living and learning to be content. Refuse to build your treasure here…solid advice from our Savior (Matthew 6)

3. One person, no matter how great or terrible, doesn’t make or break everything. Tanaka was great in Japan and will likely be great in Major League Baseball. But, he doesn’t play second base or third base, nor can he replace anyone in the lineup who gets injured. Yes, the Yankees needed pitching, but they also need help at those other positions. No matter how great you are, you can’t do it all. No matter how terrible you are, you can’t ruin it all. That’s the beauty of baseball and life. In the game, we are dependent on others for our success. In life, we all stand on equal ground before the Cross of Jesus, in need of him, unable to do anything apart from him.

What other lessons come to mind from something like this?

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