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On Christian Athletes Giving Glory to God

ben-hershey-417746After the incredible Super Bowl game Sunday night, we watched the presentation of the Lombardi trophy to the joyous Philadelphia Eagles. And then it happened – one after another, first the Head Coach, Doug Pederson, then the player making a clutch touchdown catch, Zach Ertz, and then finally the MVP quarterback, Nick Foles…all made mention of God in their acceptance of the accolades. From their Wikipedia articles, all three seem to be Christians.

“Bringing God” into a sports win irks a lot of people.

For instance, William Baker, author of Playing with God, says, “I don’t think it’s the right place and it’s not the right gesture. It’s an athlete using a moment to sell a product, like soap.”

I see what he’s saying, but in fact, I think that Mr. Baker is misunderstanding a truth about life and Christianity that the three sports heroes all seemed to understand on Sunday night.

Of course, I don’t know Pederson, Ertz, and Foles at all and therefore can’t speak for them, but if their thinking is anything like mine, they didn’t speak up because they felt God loved and helped them more than the Patriots. I imagine they are smart men and wouldn’t be so foolish. Surely there are many Patriot players who follow Christ also.

And it may be that the winning three were trying to “witness” for Christ, to “sell soap” as Baker might crassly put it; but I kind of doubt that too.

Instead, on Sunday night, Pederson, Ertz and Foles spoke up because they realized the great truth of the universe: that everything is about God…and His Son Jesus Christ. Everything. Indeed, all of human existence revolves around Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote,

(Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Colossians 1:15-17 (ESV)

Christians know that “all things were created…for him”. Therefore, he is the purpose and center of everything. And more than that, “in him all things hold together”, even frail football players.

So in their moment of victory, I doubt the three Eagles were imagining God a Philadelphia fan. And I doubt they were thinking that their testimony would cause the world to fall on its knees.

They were simply remembering that day is coming. And they were themselves…kneeling a little early…

…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:10, 11 (ESV)

 

 

 
 
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