When Fortune Finds Us

History is alive with tales of how merciless and cruel big cities can be.  Whether the evidence is Biblical or anecdotal, we understand that the culture of the city is a culture of machines and finance, two engines that run on the fuel of human souls… if left unchecked.

New York City does not have a gentle, gracious, or generous reputation.  It’s a city that can devour humanity in a way that is different that the slow fade of Los Angeles or the carnival pleasures of Miami.  New York never sleeps, it’s always working, and it’s always ravenous.

This is what makes the story of Christian Lopez so interesting.  Christian is a 23 year-old, single, New Yorker who sells cell phones to pay off his college debt.  Christian also had history fall into his lap yesterday when he became the finder of the ball that came off of the bat of Derek Jeter’s 3,000 major league hit.

The ball featured in most history making hits comes back to the player after the play is over, and the player keeps it for posterity.  Fortunately for the Yankees, and unfortunately for Derek Jeter’s trophy case, his 3,000th hit was a home run.  The ball went into the stands, and Christian Lopez had a decision to make.

Putting the ball up for auction would have yielded at least 6 figures.  It also meant that the ball would go to a private collector, or that Derek Jeter himself would have to pay money for something he created.

Christian Lopez freely gave the ball to Derek Jeter, the only condition he asked for was to return the ball to Jeter personally, so he could congratulate him.

“He deserves this, he’s worked hard for this … I’m not the type of person to take this away from him.”

The generosity and appreciation demonstrated by Mr. Lopez isn’t typical of someone struggling to make it in a difficult setting.  Hardship often causes us us to tighten our grip on the reigns of life.  We look for ways to protect  and conserve our resources.  In doing so we also extend the crisis of circumstance that the people around us are also experiencing.

In the natural world, hardship gives birth to hardship …which in turn gives birth to hardness.

The lack of hardness demonstrated by Christian Lopez is actually a demonstration of what can happen when take our hands off of the resources that we hold so dearly.  By offering grace and generosity, we also extend grace and generosity into the crisis’ of circumstance that the people around us are experiencing.

In Christ’s death, hardship gave birth to grace …which in turn gives birth to life.

Fortune found Christian and out of his gratefulness, he extended it to a man who seemingly has everything.  There was only one thing in this world that Christian Lopez possessed that Derek Jeter could have wanted.  He gave it to him:  Fortune giving birth to grace.

None of us have so little that we have nothing to offer the one who has so much.

Regardless of who we are, a hardship of circumstance is not so great that it excuses us from grace, generosity, and mercy or entitles us to selfishness, pride, and greed.  In Christ we can gain the freedom from possession required to be a blesser.  When we grasp this, we come to understand that none of us have been blessed to be blessed.  We’ve been blessed so that we can be a blessing.

 

How has fortune found you?  How has that led you to bless others?

PS – Lopez will receive four suite tickets for every remaining game at Yankee Stadium this season, playoffs included, plus Legends Suite tickets to today’s game. He also received an assortment of memorabilia while meeting with Derek Jeter… so the Captain is a pretty generous guy as well.

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