EDITORS’ NOTE: BP Sports columnist Tim Ellsworth recently visited Florida to do a series of stories on spring training as baseball players get ready to begin a new season Sunday night.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (BP)–Houston Astros third baseman Morgan Ensberg vividly remembers a speaker he heard at the team’s Bible study a couple of years ago.
Nanotechnologist Jim Tour gave his testimony to the team about becoming a Christian during college.
“From that day on, he said he read the Bible every single day,” Ensberg said. “It really impacted me.”
Tour said he had read his Bible daily for about 25 years. That commitment rubbed off on Ensberg.
“From that day, about two and a half years ago, I said, ‘This is obviously a message from the Holy Spirit. I’m going to do this,'” Ensberg said.
And he has. Every day, without fail, Ensberg carves out the time and makes sure he reads at least a little part of the Bible.
It’s not like Ensberg had no biblical foundation in his life. His grandfathers were both Lutheran ministers, and his parents met while they were students at California Lutheran University.
“I always grew up in a home where I knew that Jesus Christ was our Lord and Savior,” Ensberg said. “It was what was taught to you immediately.”
But while he was raised in a Christian home and never remembers a time when he didn’t believe in Jesus, it wasn’t until later that he fully understood the implications of that.
“As I became a man -– getting through college and getting into pro ball –- I think is where I took my biggest steps,” Ensberg said. “Was there a day when I really understood that Jesus Christ died for us? There was, and it was early. Was I walking the way I should be walking? Absolutely not. I was messing up, just like the next guy.”
When he read the Bible as an adult, it started making more sense to him and he was able to apply more of Christ’s teachings to his life. So Ensberg was already grounded in the Scriptures before he committed himself to reading the Bible daily.
Still, he said the experience of devoted, daily Bible reading has been a tremendous blessing, especially when it comes to dealing with struggles on the field.
Last year was one such struggle. He was coming off his best season in 2005, when he hit 36 home runs and drove in 101 runs as the Astros made it to the World Series.
But 2006 was another story. Ensberg’s offensive production slipped considerably, due primarily to a shoulder injury.
“From a human standpoint, a really difficult year,” Ensberg said. “Obviously you don’t want to do poorly and you don’t want to feel hurt. I was injured, and it was a very difficult thing for me to go through.”
It was through Scripture that Ensberg drew strength to rely on God during the difficult days.
“Christ talks about how we’re supposed to enjoy the times when we’re going through struggles, because that’s when you’re leaning on God,” he said. “All of last year, I really leaned on Jesus Christ…. There was never once a time when I felt as though I was out there on my own.”