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COMMITMENT TO CHRIST
Keeping Our Priorities Straight
“Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men” Col.3:23 (Amplified Bible).
After many weeks of blood and sweat being expended by professional football teams, we now know who will play for the NFL championship in Super Bowl XLI. The Indianapolis Colts will meet the Chicago Bears in a contest to decide who will be the next champion, but even though the prospect of such a big game is exciting—there is a story within this story that is more important.
Once upon a time there was a belief that athletics should not be about winning or losing, but how well one played the game. The concept of teamwork was emphasized and good sportsmanship was held to be more important than personal achievement. But that quaint relic of the past has almost vanished as athletes at all levels of sport now vie to be the next idol of the masses. A “whatever it takes” mentality has obscured the values of honesty, integrity and character. Ridiculously overpaid jocks whose heads would not fit into a fifty gallon oil drum routinely taunt their opponents by seeing who can do the most outrageous victory celebration—often with blatant disregard for rules specifically enacted by officials to stop such childish and egotistical behavior. Then these prima donnas add insult to injury when they clash with their coaches and other players over a variety of grievances, most of which are totally self-serving and not in the best interest of the team as a whole.
But since money is the primary motivation behind big time sports programs, more often than not, “the bottom line” is the deciding factor when coaches must make decisions about the use of certain players. Athletic ability and potential for making game-winning plays is a powerful incentive to use them in spite of behavior that is detrimental to team unity. And always lurking in the shadows is the very real specter of being fired if the team does not win on a consistent basis.
So successfully coping with such distractions and all the other difficult things that go with the job are good reasons why the head coaches of the Colts and Bears are to be admired and emulated. Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith are personal friends of long standing and have risen through the coaching ranks to positions of honor among the elite of professional football. They have earned the respect of their players and this is reflected in the level of performance the two teams have achieved. But what is extra special about the two coaches is their philosophy of life and how they approach their job. In a profession where fanatical dedication and long hours of preparation are the norm, several things make these two coaches stand out from most of their peers. First and foremost, they profess Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and are not at all bashful about witnessing for Him and sharing their faith with others.
In speaking of his friend Lovie Smith, the media put emphasis
upon the fact that they are the first two African-American coaches to have
a team reach the Super Bowl, coach Dungy had this to say: “I think even more important
than that to me, I know the type of person he is, and Lovie has the same Christian
conviction that I have. He runs his team the same way. I know how those guys
are treated in
Then he went on to point out that he learned some important things from head coach Denny Green of the Minnesota Vikings when he worked for him as the defensive coordinator. They included an attitude that football does not define who he is and that he should take time to spend with his family. Concerning his former boss, Dungy said this:
“Denny was very family-oriented. He let you do your job but he let you make time for your family. I did that and I think that’s very, very important. I know Lovie does that. I know Herm [Edwards] does that. I know Mike [Tomlin, the new Steelers coach] is going to do that. Rod [Marinelli, his former assistant who now runs the Lions] is going to do that, so to have that resonate—that you can be good, that you can win, that you can be successful, and you don’t have to live and die and eat and sleep football—I’m proud of that, too. For your faith to be more important, for your family to be more important than your job, it’s things we all talk about and we all know that’s the way it should be, but we’re kind of afraid to say that sometimes. Lovie’s not afraid to say it and I’m not afraid to say it.” (Ibid).
Another sports writer cited similar comments in his article on the Super Bowl:
“Coaching trees [a “tree” diagram
of head coaches who once served as assistants] are normally rooted in a
scheme. Bill Walsh’s grew out of the West Coast offense in
“In fact, Dungy and his disciples account for four of the six
black coaches in the NFL, including
Smith, who coached linebackers for the Bucs [Tampa Bay Buccaneers] from 1996-2000, exudes the same quiet confidence as his mentor. One the eve of the conference championship, Dungy sounded as concerned about Smith reaching the Super Bowl as he did his own team. ‘I’m so happy that Lovie got there because he does things the right way,’ Dungy said. ‘He’s going to get there with a lot of class, no profanity, no intimidation, but just helping his guys play the best that they can. That’s the way I try to do it. And I think it’s great that we’re able to show the world not only that African-American coaches can do it, but Christian coaches can do it in a way that we can still win.” Super Bowl XLI, Dungy coaching tree continues to grow (Rick Stroud, St. Petersburg Times, inserts mine).
Staying true to faith, family, and friends is a 3-part recipe for success regardless of your goals in life. And because so many today are trying to live without one or more of these “ingredients,” the fabric of our nation is falling apart. A lesson one learns very quickly in Pee-Wee football is that all 11 players on both offense and defense must do their job if there is to be any chance of winning the game. The best running back in the world cannot score touchdowns without the other 10 men carrying out their respective assignments. If they all “lay down on the job” and do not block for the runner, the odds are great that the 11 men on defense will stop him on every play. And in a very real sense the same is true of the family. The team concept applies in that the father and mother must remain faithful to each other and bring up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph.6:4). Everyone must do their part and work together in harmony to make the most out of life.
So in our small way, we want to add our congratulations to Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith for their historic achievement. And we heartily agree with coach Dungy’s assessment that some things are so important that they must take precedence over all else. Because winning the Super Bowl of life at the expense of faith and family is to lose big time! So no matter which coach is ultimately the winner of this particular contest, or games that may come in the future—both are already winners in God’s sight and our prayer is that many will benefit from their example.
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order Kingdom of Antichrist in their daily news.
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Cutting Edge Ministries, C/O Pastor Ron Riffe
P.O. Box 26
Gordo, AL 35466
You can also E-Mail Pastor Ronald Riffe regarding questions or comments about this article.
God bless you