I don’t have to tell you that I love sports. I’ve always been involved. I especially love athletes who use sports as a platform to make a witness. That’s why I spend so much time with athletes, teams, coaches and organizations like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Just recently there have been so many important, high profile athletic events that had strong Christians as heroes. In the recent NFC championship game, the Minnesota Vikings had the game in hand until Drew Brees led the Saints with a wild come back. With 25 seconds left in the game Will Lutz hit a long 43 yard field goal. It looked like New Orleans would win.
But with 25 seconds remaining on the clock, the Vikings had a slim chance. With only 10 seconds left and the ball on their own 39 yard line Case Keenum had to create a miracle. He needed to complete a pass at least 35 yards down the field and have the receiver go out of bounds in order to save one second and try a field goal. Keenum did better. He threw a 40 yard pass to Stefon Diggs who went up and caught the ball. The defensive back, Marcus Williams, awkwardly missed the tackle and Diggs didn’t go out of bounds but ran into the in zone for a 29-24 victory.
When Keenum was interviewed about that being the greatest moment of his life he quickly said, “I can tell you about the three greatest moments of my life. The first was when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. The second was when I married my wife. The third is when I completed that pass and scored with no time left on the clock.”
Alabama played Georgia in the National Championship game in Atlanta. Alabama was totally outplayed in the first half of the game. In the second half Nick Saban put in the backup quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa – a true freshman. He threw 3 touchdown passes and turned the game around.
Alabama was trailing 20-10 late in the fourth quarter. The Tide came back, tied the score, and sent the game into overtime. In the second overtime Tua made a big mistake by taking a 17 yard sack. But the next play, this young quarterback threw a pass to another young freshman, DeVonta Davis, who scored the winning touchdown for the national championship. Both young men are very committed Christians.
In the first interview, Tua was asked how he did it. He immediately said, “First I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and I want to give all the glory to God.” A few minutes later he was interviewed by another national T.V. reporter and began the interview with the same witness. During the trophy presentation when he was given the most valuable offensive player award, he began again by thanking his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and giving God the glory!
What a witness! Some of the major news networks were able to edit that witness out of their reports when they came out the next day, but everybody heard them that night.
Jose Altuve, smallest player in major league baseball, was selected as the 2017 Most Valuable Player in the American League. He again won the batting title. He was also Most Valuable Player in the World Series. When interviewed about that, he said, “The best success is to live your life the way God wants you to.”
Steph Curry was the most valuable player in the NBA. Many people place him as being one of the top three NBA players of all time. I used to shoot a basketball just like he does – accept his go in the basket! He said, “Whether it is winning games, losing games, making shots, missing shots – it all about giving glory to God.”
I love it when athletes use their talents as a platform for making a witness. You have a platform. How are you using it? Are you willing to use your profession, your reputation, your status as an athlete or student – do you use this as a platform for a witness? You don’t have to win the National Championship, or the Super Bowl, or the NBA, or the World Series – everybody has a sphere of influence – a platform.
Are you using your platform for God’s glory?