Considered as 'Rich' - Jordan Matthews

Every day I step out onto the field, I know I need God. In a sport like football, which is so unpredictable and violent, there’s no questioning my need for Him. Even in the weight room and on the practice field, I will finish a workout and think, “Could I have possibly done that on my own power?” When it comes to life, and football especially, I know I need the power and strength of God.

But when football is not in the picture, would I still recognize my need and dependency on God? Would I go through the course of my day and not praise God? Without football, would I really learn to lean on Him and enjoy His presence? Or am I praising God because of all the things He seems to “help” me with? In short, I need to do spiritual open-heart surgery every day. 

In the time since I was released from the 49ers, it has been revealed to me that I really and truly do love Him! God’s Word is all I want to study and absorb right now. Yes, I’m still working out and training my body as hard as I can. But in the end, I really don’t care where God brings me. 

At first, that was really hard to come to grips with. When I was first released, I was mad about it. With more time on my hands, I started digging deeper into God’s Word and spending more time with Him. I soon realized that I don’t go to God’s Word just because it’s something I feel like I should do, I truly need it. It didn’t take long for me to say, “God, You’re enough. Even if they take football away from me, You’re enough.” You can’t truly know this unless you’re faced with the possibility of it.

As I delve into Scripture more, I’m constantly finding new truths and realities about our God. Many claim that the Bible seems to contradict itself, but if you really read through it, you’ll see nothing but consistency throughout. You have to go all in, though. 

After being released, many Christ-followers, who honestly meant well, would say to me, “I read this verse today and thought of you.” The verse would represent something about God’s favor and provision and they would then tell me that they knew God would provide a team that would sign me. This kind of theology is spotty. 

Scripture is not centered on me getting back into the NFL. As I read through the New Testament with my wife, I notice the life of John the Baptist. This man was faithful to serve and be served by the Messiah. He didn’t think God was good only if He changed his specific situation to bring him comfort. John the Baptist was in prison and eventually beheaded! We don’t know why he had to die like that, but we can clearly see God’s hand on his life. God used him in incredible ways for the Kingdom, and yet, his earthly life was anything but easy. 

We aren’t going through anything close to being imprisoned or beheaded. We know that our God can bring about victory on earth for us, but even if He doesn’t, He’s still God. We can be in the fire and know He’s right there beside us.

God doesn’t promise physical or material wealth for us on earth, but if we are consistently in the Word of God, keeping Him as our source of strength and joy, He will bless us with spiritual and mental strength. If you are spiritually full, you are the best kind of rich. Your outward situation may be terrible, but with the Gospel, you’re better off than any other. 

Just look at the Apostle Paul. He was one of the greatest leaders in history, and a master of literature. There may never be anyone so effective in their ministry and work, and yet he faced severe persecution, imprisonment and trials of many kinds. No one can lead such a life unless they are filled up with the power of the Holy Spirit.

The same is true for you and me. If God is our source, and we are filled by His Spirit, we are to be envied.

— Jordan Matthews, NFL wide receiver

Jordan Matthews is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions. Check out Jordan’s Increase profile: 

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