"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord, and not for men." - Colossians 3:23
Colossians 3:23 is Clayton's favorite bible verse, and can also be attributed to the reason his 2013 baseball season played out in such a manner. He is dedicated to hard work, and this passage gives him the motivation to do so, day in and day out. While "Striking out to Serve" this season, his perspective was always greater than the game of baseball. With each strikeout, he knew childrens' lives could be impacted--children he has come to know through hearing their stories and visiting their living conditions; children he can't forget about; and children we choose to stand up for and represent.
This 2013 season is one we will never forget. Our Kershaw's Challenge supporters and team rallied behind these children as well, believing in them and their futures. Together, we have recognized that when these kids are given the right opportunity, they not only thrive, but become leaders for others to follow. Clayton held this belief close to his heart, striking out batters so often he led the National League. Coincidence? Absolutely not. For we have witnessed what the Lord can accomplish when we hand our greatest passions over to Him, and ask that He use them to glorify Himself and expand His Kingdom.
Because of this 2013 season, a community school in Zambia that serves hundreds of street children will get to expand into new classrooms so that each grade level will have it's own space to learn. Destiny School will have the opportunity hire faculty with higher degrees of education so that they can pour their knowledge into these children who are the future of their country. A water well will be built on the school's campus so that each child will have access to clean water. And a sewing room for widows will be renovated so that more women will have access to earn a living for their family.
Because of this 2013 season, children in America--from Los Angeles to Dallas--will have after-school programs to attend instead of going home to an empty house, a television, or an empty refrigerator. Instead, they will have the opportunity to get involved with sports, recreation, studies, discipleship programs and bible studies. Through Sharefest and Mercy Street, children's lives are being affected daily because these programs meet kids at their school, in their neighborhood and in their home, and pour into the community with Christ's love.
As his family and friends gathered in his home to wait for the big announcement, Clayton sat in the spotlight, with cameras rolling, overwhelmed with peace. He didn't need to hear his name called to know that the Lord had accomplished great things through his baseball performance this year. He knew his worth wasn't tied up in an accolade that wasn't eternal. But when his name was called, emotion filled him. He would tell you today that it still feels surreal. In a million years, he could never imagine that he would be receiving his second Cy Young. He always dreamed of playing baseball, but couldn't imagine anything beyond that.
Clayton said on November 13, "It's just a whirlwind of emotions today. Whether you expect to win or you don't, just to hear your name called, it does something to you... It really is pretty special and I definitely don't take that for granted."
So today, we congratulate Clayton for an award he claims he could never deserve. After an incredible season, we pray that Kershaw's Challenge will continue to change the lives of children for years to come.