All of you know that I am a die-hard Auburn fan and a proud graduate of Auburn University. I avoid crimson and hounds tooth. I have orange and blue t-shirts, sweatshirts and jewelry. I can play the Auburn fight song hymn-style with an “Amen” at the end. BUT, and this is a Big BUT — after last year’s National Championship game, I did NOT suddenly become an Alabama fan, but I did INSTANTLY become a Tua fan. When he led that team to a dramatic comeback and had microphones stuck in his face afterwards, he didn’t take any praise for himself. He pointed people to Jesus.
Read more details about Tua Tagovailoa in this link. How he came to have such a strong faith, what his family background is like, the habits that keep him grounded are all described in depth in this article.
Tim Tebow’s story is very similar. Priorities of faith, family and THEN football. Humility. Pointing people to Jesus. In several of his high-profile games, John 3:16 and other Scripture references were prominent in the black painted under his eyes. Thousands dusted off their Bibles or did Google searches to find out what those verses said. As a result of the financial gains he received from sports, he formed the Tim Tebow Foundation, whose stated goal is to “bring Faith, Hope and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.” That organization’s Night to Shine events have brought untold joy to thousands with special needs.
Chette Williams is the chaplain for Auburn University’s football program. He is facing a lawsuit — as are many Christian chaplains for sports teams — brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) wanting his job to be dissolved and his privilege of leading players in prayer to cease. He’s not backing down. He’s still praying.
What would happen if EVERY Christian recognized the opportunities for impacting the world by living lives according to the Bible and giving glory and honor to Jesus at every opportunity?
What if our lives were characterized by humility rather than by pride, desires for recognition and constant self-promotion?
What if our work ethic spurred us to practice harder, to seek to improve, to stay late and arrive early with the ultimate goal of giving any credit for success to our Savior?
What if our families were strong morally and close emotionally because of love, respect, exemplary examples of the older members and devotion to one another?
It’s so much more than church attendance.
It’s so much more than giving a tithe or donations to charity.
It’s so much more than not saying bad words in public and staying away from R-rated movies.
Tua, Tebow and Chette have bone-deep belief in and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. They know God’s Word. They pray. They practice humility and purity. They are not Christians in name only. They are what followers of Christ can look like.
Do we really want to change the world?
What if we all put faith and family before football (or whatever our personal passion might be)?
Can you just imagine with me what an impact we could have?
1 Peter 3:15 – “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect”
Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness . . . “
Matthew 5:13-16 – “You are the salt of the earth . . . let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
1 Peter 2:12 – “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
All verses in the English Standard Version.