Three-time two-time Major League Baseball, 2016 World Champion, and 2016 World MVP Ben Zobrist served as the keynote speaker at the Eastern Nazarene College church service on November 14 as part of the Kauffman Initiative for Christian Health Renewal. . This marked Zobrist’s second visit to campus after serving as a guest speaker at the chapel in 2012.
Zobrist began his speech on the importance of mental health in today’s world. When he retired from professional baseball, Zobrist felt like he no longer had an identity. He did not want to complete daily tasks and became depressed, later causing suicidal thoughts. Zobrist talked to a doctor, which later led him to realize his purpose in life, which is to encourage people to reconnect with their hearts and souls.
He referred to Mark 12:30-31 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There is no greater law than this.
Zobrist shares that no matter what kind of experience a person has gone through, good or bad, God has placed a special gift within all of us that works for the greater good of His Kingdom. Zobrist knew who he was as a major league baseball player, but later found out who he was when he was no longer in that role was more important.
“I enjoyed seeing Ben interact with our students, especially our athletes, in a one-on-one conversation before and after church. He didn’t rush to give the speech he gave over and over again and then leave. He took the time to share with our students the life of faith in meaningful ways” said Dr. David Young, Dean of the Chapel and College Chaplain.
Zobrist played 14 seasons in the majors with stints with the Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, Kansas City Royals, and Chicago Cubs. He played in three World Series, winning the 2015 World Series with the Kansas City Royals and the 2016 World Series with the Chicago Cubs. Zobrist was named the 2016 World Series MVP.
Zobrist graduated from Olivet Nazarene University before completing his academic career at Dallas Baptist University. He was selected by the Houston Astros in the sixth round of the 2004 MLB Draft.
The Kauffman Initiative for Christian Life Renewal is dedicated to showing ENC students how to be powerful Christian witnesses to the world.