Leadership #2, Love is the Most Powerful Four-Letter Word - Bottom of the Ninth #140

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Bottom of the 9th - Love

"Love is the Most Powerful Four-Letter Word" John Wooden's Leadership Lesson #2 by Keith Wahl

John Wooden wrote 12 Leadership Lessons that enhance our understandings of leadership and success. These 12 lessons will be the focus of Bottom of the Ninth for 12 weeks.

The annual reveal of the Hall of Fame inductees stokes our love for the game. It reminds us of a distant and a more-recent past. It's a great time of year. One of this year's inductees, Ken Griffey, Jr., brought me back to my high school days. His joy exuded from his style of play and smile, all while forcing generations of fans and players to ask the question, "Could you love the game AND wear your hat backwards?" These were the ethical dilemmas of my childhood.

The Bryant Gumbel quote above, "The other sports are just sports. Baseball is a love," resonates with anyone who has spent enough time with the game. Wooden's second leadership lesson, "Love is the most powerful four-letter word," is true and sometimes our priorities regarding love get out of whack. Christ shares the the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:36-40 and it relates to love.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?â€

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.â€

It is our responsibility to love God first. This doesn't mean we can't love baseball, it just means we're called to love God first. This year, I'm committing to loving God first on the field and guiding others to love God first in a baseball context as well. I'm convinced that when we love God first while enjoying the game of baseball, we will experience all new levels of joy and unity.

In addition, when the love for our neighbors comes from an overflow of loving God, we experience deeper levels of community. The blessing that we experience from baseball alumni visits through the years because we've sown the seeds of love is one of the great blessings of my life. The best of those relationships have come when we've loved God first, loved those players, and then the game.

May we all love God first, let our overflow from that love of God wash over those around us and the things we do, and experience the blessing that comes from it.

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