In the wake of his retirement announcement, Derek Jeter has been lauded generously by baseball writers. “Greatest Yankee Ever.” “The Face of Baseball.” “Irreplaceable.”
Here are three insights from a legend’s retirement.
1. You are replaceable, and you will be replaced. In high school, three of my teammates and I were arrogant enough to call ourselves “The Fab Four.” We had played on the varsity team together all four years and had set school records for wins as sophomores, juniors, and seniors. We were something. Or at least we thought. Until, the next year, someone wore our jerseys and played our positions, and had the audacity to pretend like we were replaceable. The nerve!
I learned early that I’m replaceable, even when I am proficient at something. And so is Derek Jeter. In 2015, the Yankees will have a shortstop. I promise. He may or may not become the next Derek Jeter, but somebody has to play there. He’s replaceable. So am I. So are you. Hold on loosely to the positions you hold in this world. One day, someone else will fill it and forget you ever existed.
2. We are desperate for heroes. Jeter is just the latest athlete to be proclaimed a hero. Baseball writers have lined up like little kids to throw accolades his way. It’s sickening, really. Grown men worshiping another grown man. But, such is life for those who have failed to recognize that there’s only been one hero in history, and he never appeared in the sports pages. His name is Jesus. His heroics are legendary–leave heaven, become a man, live perfectly, die for the sins of the world, come back to life, ascend to heaven, offer forgiveness and salvation to anyone who will believe. Jeter never did that. He just played baseball really well. Let’s stop with the hero worship. None of us, no matter how great we appear, are truly heroic. Jesus alone.
3. Ironically, you really are irreplaceable. I know, I just told you that no one is irreplaceable. And it’s true in most areas of your life. But, in your marriage and with your family, you are irreplaceable. They need you. Not the public you. Not the masked you. Just you, flaws and all. They need your time, your focus, your energy, your love. Desperately. Just ask them. To them, you aren’t a coach, player, businessman, pastor, or anything else. You’re just a spouse, a mom, a dad. And that makes you irreplaceable. Be that for them.