By Bill Sorrell
MARTIN — Driving down Interstate 40 toward Jackson, saw something that made him almost swerve off the road — a larger-than-life picture of himself on a billboard advertising the University of Tennessee at Martin where he is a senior.
“I was looking around at the other cars. Do they know that this guy is in the car next to them?” laughed Reeves, who is captain of the golf team. “It was fun. A lot of guys gave me a hard time about it.”
UTM golf coach Jerry Carpenter has seen Reeves’ face value.
“He is a once-in-a-lifetime person to come along. You get a lot of good golfers but you don’t get people like Ben Reeves every time. He is first and foremost an outstanding person (with) tremendous character and leadership. He sets an example. He is an outstanding student, a pre-med major. Ben has been accepted to medical school this fall. He conducts team Bible studies. He has an outstanding personality, and talks to everyone on campus. He is willing to help golfers and anyone else.”
Reeves will graduate in May and then enroll in East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine. Reeves, of Knoxville, has a cumulative 3.92 GPA.
Reeves is among the team’s top two golfers and was an all-conference performer as a sophomore and the OVC Freshman of the Year in 2012-13, the first in program history. He received the OVC Scholar-Athlete Award in 2015-16, one of six athletes in the 12-team league.
Reeves’ impact at UTM has been more than grades and golf. He is a spiritual leader and since he was a freshman, has been involved in the Baptist Collegiate Ministry. He is the men’s discipleship leader and developed MAN UP, a corporate worship and small group Bible study.
“That has been a great time discipling younger guys. That was Jesus’ ministry. I’m just trying to emulate that and lead the way for the next generation,” said Reeves, 22.
BCM director Morgan Owen said, “I have seen Ben be a great source of wisdom for many of our guys. Ben has been a great friend to many of the students. He is a great example and gives valuable input.
“From the moment I met Ben, I knew he was a different kind of guy. His determination to get connected to Christian peers and joyful attitude about seeking God made it clear to me that we would be blessed by having Ben involved in the BCM.
“Many athletes are on such a strict schedule that it makes it difficult for them to be involved in anything on campus. Ben was different. He stepped in, built some key relationships, and felt like ministry-wise, he could invest his life.”
Said Reeves, “I love the BCM. It’s a great environment.”
Reeves became a Christian when he was 5 and was baptized at First Baptist Church, Concord, in Knoxville. “I realized Jesus was worth spending your whole life trying to get close to,” said Reeves, who rededicated his life at age 16.
“Without Christ, I don’t think my life would have the purpose that it has right now. People go their whole lives without hearing the Good News and that is our job to try to share it with them. That to me is what I strive for — my life being. I think that is the whole reason why I am on this earth, to glorify Him and to be the hands and feet of Christ and to bring others to know Him.
“Christ is everything. I know my need for a Savior. I know the joy that He brings compared to living for the world. Without Him, I wouldn’t be as joyful, as patient, as peaceful in mind and spirit. I would love for everyone to grab hold of and understand how different your life is when you are really dedicated to Christ.”
Reeves noted he has had an “awesome experience” at UTM.
“I get to be a golfer. I get to be a follower of Christ and be an encourager to others. I also get to be around people who are saving other people’s lives through shadowing doctors and being part of a health care team.”
God has taken care of academic and golf needs, so that “I can focus on serving Him and also being the best that I can be in all those arenas. The motivation is to try to glorify Him the most that I can.”