Today poses a conundrum. Do I root for the Patriots, our family favorite, or Seattle – a relatively new addition to my football favs. I admit my team loyalties change with my men (shallow, I know), and the newest man in my life is my five-year-old buddy Sam – an avid Seahawk fan. My affinity for Seattle quarterback, Russell Wilson, may have been initiated by Sam’s obsession, but the more I learn about him, the more I admire him. My high regard for Wilson has more to do with the way he lives out his faith though, than any of his impressive athletic accomplishments. He was also kind enough to provide an autographed poster for my little friend – something Sam will treasure forever.
When rehashing the NFC Championship game with Sam, he enthusiastically relived many of his favorite moments, but one comment stands out amongst the rest. He concluded, “But my favorite part was when Russell talked about God after the game.” THIS is why I love Russell Wilson. His humility and gratitude in the use of his gifts and talents is an example to all of us. First and foremost, he always gives credit to God for his achievements followed closely by acknowledging his teammates contributions. The fact that he chooses to use his celebrity status for a positive impact is definitely something to cheer about. You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate his #BVD tweets, and he’s not discussing his undergarments, which I wouldn’t put past many other celebs. They are his Bible Verses of the Day.
That said, my favorite aspect of Wilson’s personality has to be his why not me attitude instilled in him by his father at a young age. I think it’s safe to say that our Father encourages all of us to adopt a similar why not me approach to sharing our faith. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a celebrity, we all have the opportunity to witness for Christ by the way we live.
Why not me indeed? We all have an audience, some are just larger than others. Even an audience of one has value in God’s economy. We all have a position to play. By fulfilling our role to the best of our ability (regardless of how small or seemingly insignificant) is how you create a winning team. I’m sure Russell Wilson would agree with that. There can only be one quarterback, but his success relies on his teammates success in their own positions. And so it is with Christianity. Our collective efforts on God’s behalf are an integral part of His game plan – the Great Commission. My loyalty and commitment to that endeavor is unwavering regardless of what position I’m assigned. And despite frequent and predictable failures, like Wilson’s reset visualization, we’ve all been given a reset button through Christ.
While my team loyalties may vacillate year to year, I totally agree with Russell Wilson’s aphorism that there is “only one mission.” He describes it as going 1-0 today. Every day’s a new start. I think we can all relate to that goal.It takes enormous discipline and trust to choose not to worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week or next year. Wilson reminds us, “No matter what the situation, no matter how bad the circumstances are, I can close my eyes, hit the red (reset) button, and focus on the moment at hand.” Yes, we can all reach for our own reset button. It’s called the gift of grace.
Russell also emphasizes the role of fellowship. “Faith is a big part of my life, and I talk to my pastor almost every day. One thing that he has really instilled in my heart this season is the idea of surrender and surround. Surrender yourself to a higher cause, and surround yourself with special people.” Christianity is not meant to be a solo endeavor. Regardless of our abilities or lack thereof, we can all be encouragers – loyal fans that inspire and lift each other up.
Finally, Russell’s description of the Seahawks last week reminded me of many of the spiritual giants we study in the Bible. “This team is filled with late-round draft picks and unheralded free agents and underdogs who have turned into incredible football players.” The Bible is full of misfits who chose to fulfill their roles regardless of their obvious shortcomings and failures. I will leave you with this poem to ponder if you are ever tempted to doubt your ability to be a contributing member of God’s team. After reading it, I’m sure you will be asking the same question as Russell Wilson. Why not me?
No More Excuses, Author Unknown
The next time you feel like God can’t use you, just remember:
Noah was a drunk,
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer AND
Lazarus was dead!
Now! No more excuses! God can use you to your full potential.Besides you aren’t the message, you are just the messenger.
So who will I choose to root for in Superbowl XLIX? The same person I choose to root for every Sunday and every other day of the week. It doesn’t matter who the victor is today. We all know who wins in the end!