Medina Spirit was the winner of the most recent Kentucky Derby. Since the victory there has been some question about whether he had a performance enhancing drug in his bloodstream. But for now, he is still the winner and, win or not, he became a multi-million- dollar horse with his effort
No one would have bet on this horse given its humble beginnings. Born in 2018, he was sold at auction in 2019 for $1,000, which means there was only one bid for him. The next year he was auctioned again for a nice gain of $35,000, but hardly the kind of money that would be expected for a potential champion. On crossing the finish line this past May 1, he earned the winner’s purse of $1,860,000. Bob Baffert, his trainer, was surprised and overjoyed. As he talked about the horse’s heart and competitive spirit, he said: “He doesn’t know how much he cost.”
Regularly we hear stories about men and women who are janitors, teachers, civil servants, or restaurant workers. They come into our view because they end up making incredible donations of hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars to a charity or church. They are people who are overlooked by normal standards, but deep inside they have a passion for good and for God. They don’t know how much they cost.
Many of the best examples of life-changing ministry come from some of our smallest and most out-of-the-way churches. They are feeding people, praying up miracles, or giving a kid the only real love he or she knows. God has given these congregations a spirit of sharing and hope. If we were starting a church we would never invest in such places, but they don’t know how much they cost.
Pastors are no different. Some, when they are young, stand out as future champions. Time and tide will tell. However, I have sat in many a pastor’s office, with someone who few knew and fewer would have bet on, and marveled at the consistent faithfulness, the God centeredness, and the loving attention they pay to those in their care. Whole communities are touched by their presence. They don’t know how much they cost.
The beginning of stewardship is seeing the world, even yourself, as God sees you. Society has many measures of worth and of what constitutes success. Some of these are helpful. Most are not. The good steward walks in the vision of God. Time, talent, and treasure are organized around this vision. Above all, since the good steward knows the way God sees and values them, he or she knows how to treat others—especially those whom the world has considered of little worth.
Stay faithful friends. Keep running the race. If you want to know whether it matters, I will say the odds are good.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana