. . . I have said before that you are in our hearts to die together and to live together. — 2 Corinthians 7:3 (NASB95)
Jane Leavy recounts comments from (Mickey) Mantle's last press conference on July 11, 1995. Mantle had been an alcoholic.
"God gave me a great body and an ability to play baseball," he said. "God gave me everything, and I just … pffft!" What would be remembered most was the anguished plea to children: "I'd like to say to the kids out there, if you're looking for a role model, this is a role model. Don't be like me."
A reporter asked Mantle if he had signed a donor card. "Everything I've got is worn out," he said. "Although I've heard people say they'd like to have my heart … it's never been used."
– Jane Leavy, The Last Boy(HarperCollins, 2010), p. 374
Our church has been hit hard this week by two deaths. One, a young man in the prime of life, died in a diving accident. The other, an old man long in years and life, finally gave in to the ravages of aging. The first, nobody was ready for. It was a total shock to learn that Larry had died. The second, everybody was ready for, especially Russ, himself.
You would not necessarily think the two had all that much in common. I think you would be wrong. Allow me one huge commonality. Heart!
Both were men of heart. Both loved people. Both loved the Lord. Both wore their hearts on their sleeves. Both were tender-hearted when it came to people. Larry was always doing something for someone. Russ was a long-sought-after spiritual counselor. Both loved to laugh. Both had unique ways of relating to people. Both loved life. Larry showed that in the sheer zest for life and living. Russ was constantly pointing out something he observed like it was the first time ever seeing it. Both will be greatly missed by a lot of people, and it’s because both men had lots of heart.
Mickey Mantle told kids, “Don’t be like me.” Speaking about his heart, he said, “. . . it’s never been used.” If you’d like a role model for “heart,” let me suggest two for you. A young man named Larry, and an old man named Russ. If you know them, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t know them, come talk to me. I’ll put you in touch with a boat-load of people who will tell you about them. They will tell you about men with hearts.