“If I did not have the Lord, it would have been a lot harder,” states New York Yankees second baseman Stephen Drew
Drew, who made his major league debut on July 15, 2006, has been a successful major league baseball player. However, the last three years he has had to deal with serious injuries and organizational issues that has put a strain on his performance on the field. Stephen shares, “Going through some major injuries, it was so important in having the Lord with me and constantly by my side. The days were not easy during these times, but knowing this game will not last forever and life will not last forever, there was a sense of peace.”
The Scripture verse that kept Stephen strong was Joshua 1:9 reads, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you.” Stephen exclaims, “In this game when things are not going well, we tend to become discouraged. But Christ tells us, through Scripture, He is always with us and not to be discouraged. That is so important when we face challenges.”
Mickey Weston, a director with Unlimited Potential and Inc. (UPI), has known Drew for several years. Weston shares, “Stephen has gone through some difficult times the last few years. He has handled this very well. He has grown in his faith, and he knows who he is in Christ.”
Weston adds, “Stephen continues to pursue Christ each day. Being in God’s word is what helped Stephen stay strong, knowing he can trust the Lord through any situation. Having played with several different teams, he continues to have a steady walk with the Lord where ever he goes. No one ever questions where his heart is and where his allegiance is.”
Stephen Drew grew up in the small town of HaHira, Georgia, near Valdosta, where his parents David and Libby Drew, were faithful in their involvement in their local church. “My walk with the Lord started at a young age. My parents were a big influence by the way they lived,” says Stephen. “Your parents can’t ‘save’ you, but they can show you how they live their lives and by observing their close walk with Jesus.”
Stephen accepted Christ into his heart at age 9. There was no special or big event that led to it. For him, it was going to church and Sunday school and listening to his pastor and teachers. “One day while lying in bed,” explains Stephen, “knowing that Christ died for my sins, I asked Jesus into my heart. I remember it was an amazing feeling when the Holy Spirit came within me. Nobody can do the things Christ has done. God’s Word (the Bible) still speaks to us today. My walk has really grown from when I was nine years old to now as an adult.”
Drew played baseball at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia, and he then went on to play three years at Florida State University. Drew was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004 in the first round (15th overall). He had his best season in 2008 with the D backs, batting .291 average and being voted the team MVP. Stephen was part of the 2013 World Series Champions, Boston Red Sox. Stephen comes from a baseball family. His oldest brother is JD, who played 14 years in the major leagues. His second brother, Tim, played nearly 4 years in the big leagues.
While in Lowndes High School, Stephen was active in the Fellowship of Christian athletes. “FCA had weekly meetings before school with different speakers and Bible studies. Now I have had opportunities to speak at some FCA events telling of my faith in Christ.”
At Florida State (2001 to 2004) Stephen attended some FCA meetings, but the FSU baseball team had its own chaplain in Pastor Clint Purvis. “Chaplain Purvis would lead the team in prayer and Bible studies. That was an important time of personal spiritual growth for me.”
Once Stephen became a professional, he continued his spiritual walk. Stephen shares, “I have attended Unlimited Potential Inc. (UPI) retreats led by some great Christian leaders, and some are part of Baseball Chapel. These people do a good job of sharing the Word with athletes all over the world. It is a ministry I have been a part of and support. I have been on mission trips with UPI, where I got an opportunity to share a little about baseball and my love for Jesus.”
Teammate Mark Teixeira comments, “I have really enjoyed being with Stephen the last two seasons, just seeing how dedicated he is with his walk with Christ. More than anyone I have played with the relationship with Christ is very important to Stephen. He lives with God in his heart, and that is the best thing I can say about any Brother (in Christ).
Jesus has changed Stephen in his everyday life by what He has done in Stephen’s heart. “I just want to be a witness for Christ and do it
quietly. Living my faith daily is a big part of my life. I pray that others might see Jesus in me.”
Drew continues, “I try to lead by example like Christ did in his walk on earth. It is important I get into God’s Word so I can share with teammates at the ballpark and with others when I am away from the playing field. With my own children, I want to be a light to them and hope the Holy Spirit will draw them to Jesus.”
George McGovern, chaplain for the New York Yankees, commented, “For the brief time I have known Stephen, he has demonstrated a consistent walk with the Lord through his character and his involvement with other Christian players and coaches. It is evident by his regular attendance of Sunday Bible chapel and the road Bible studies.”
Growing up Stephen’s best friend and high school baseball teammate was Jordan Crews. Jordan had a younger sister, Laura, who was friends with Stephen most of their youth. The friendship with Laura turned to romance after Stephen went off to college, and they started dating. Stephen and Laura were married, and they now are parents to two boys, Hank and Nolan, and a daughter, Lainey.
In Psalms 23 it says, “..I shall not want..” Stephen shares, “In this game of baseball, you want a good batting average and you want to do well. We all have wants, and everyone goes through struggles and difficulties. That’s part of life. The biggest help for me is staying focused on Christ. The Lord said to ‘meditate on me day and night.’ That means to never depart from Him. I believe that is the key to life for everyone.”
Chase Headley, a Yankee teammate, states, “Stephen is an awesome guy who has had a lot of success in his career. But he has had to deal with adversity the last three years. It has been fun to watch him grow as a Christian through it all.”
Headley adds, “Stephen holds a tremendous presence in the clubhouse. He stands up for what he believes, and we are lucky to have a Brother (in Christ) like Stephen on our team.”
Looking back, Stephen is so thankful his parents laid the spiritual foundation which he has steadily built his faith upon. Stephen shares, “I will always remember God chose me first. I am very thankful and appreciative for that. I can’t work to get to Heaven. The Gospel tells us Jesus died for our sins. Jesus changed my life because I know my life in this world will end, but a new life with Him in Heaven will begin. I am excited for that!”
By Bruce A. Darnall, Lake Mills, WI
Photos credited to New York Yankees