By Adam LaRoche – Every year, a group of volunteers put together by three non-profits gather in different cities to do what they call a “Big Search” — a search to put an end to sex trafficking. This year, during the Super Bowl, a group of about 250-300 of us went to Vegas to go to work.
This year, that fell on the same week as my son’s 18th birthday. Weeks prior when I asked Drake what he wanted to do for his birthday, I knew what the answer would be. Since we never really do much to celebrate birthdays, Drake didn’t care what we did. To him, this was just another birthday. I suggested he come to Vegas for part of the trip.
Not every 18-year-old boy spends his 18th birthday with a bunch of other men, fighting for freedom of children and women. While we were there, what he saw as no big deal turned into a really special birthday. The other men we were with — past teammates of mine and other friends of ours — gathered around Drake one day and prayed over him. We all came out early and made a celebration of his entering into this new stage of life — adulthood.
In Biblical times, there was a great emphasis on anointing someone with oil when you blessed them. I had the honor and privilege to carry this out on my son as we prayed for him. One of the men on our team, a pastor, had recently tattooed three arrows on his arm with the simple message, “None wasted, send them all.” This image was symbolic of a story in the Bible:
“Elisha said, ‘Get a bow and some arrows,’ and he [Jehoash King of Israel] did so. ‘Take the bow in your hands,’ he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands.
“‘Open the east window,’ he said, and he opened it. ‘Shoot!’ Elisha said, and he shot. ‘The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!’ Elisha declared. ‘You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.’
Then he said, ‘Take the arrows,’ and the king took them. Elisha told him, ‘Strike the ground.’ He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.’” — 2 Kings 13:15-19
The idea of this imagery is this: Don’t hold back. Why would we be cautious or reserved in our action to receive God’s blessing? With this reminder, instead of pouring a little oil on Drake’s head, I poured the whole jug, about a gallon. I bathed him in oil.
When it comes to giving or receiving God’s blessing, we don’t want to save any for reserves. Let it all go. Give everything you’ve got; empty your bank account, confident that God will be faithful to replenish what you need. We have to get past the “just in case” moments if we want to experience the miraculous that God has for us.
It was an unforgettable way to celebrate my son’s entrance into adulthood — one that neither he nor I will forget. That’s what happens when we say yes to living sacrificially among Christian community.
— Adam LaRoche, former MLB player, for Sports Spectrum’s The Increase