It’s not about me. I’ve been reminded again and again about this fact recently. And again as I was listening to a sermon by Francis Chan, who spoke about us being the body of Christ. Our role as Christ’s Church is not to ask, “What can I get out of this?” but to instead ask, “How can I bring the best of my part to benefit others?” As a byproduct, we will benefit as well.
As I read and study more of God’s Word, my selfish thinking and ways are made more apparent and less desirable to me. Even when I pray, I often get caught in the me-focused prayers, so I have to stop and think about how I can pray for others. It’s eye-opening.
As football players, it’s super tough because we can easily be idolized, trashed or stepped on. And for all athletes, it’s easy to be driven by statistics. You can be super high when you’re doing well and super low when you’re not. The fluctuation of highs and lows is challenging. What I had to realize is that there will always be critics, but you have to be centered on something to keep you calm.
Outside of the stats, numbers and outcomes, life is so much bigger. God is so much bigger and worth so much more. While the world may focus on these things, as Christians, we need to be focused on Him. He then changes our perspectives to care more about our locker rooms, our cities, and the peace of Christ He gives us. Only then can we let others know they can have the same peace.
Anxiety is seen most exaggerated in the young players or those who are on their way out. They feel pressure from everyone to perform or prove themselves. Obviously, we all want to do well, but this can’t be our end all be all. When we, as Christ-followers, demonstrate a calm spirit despite the circumstances surrounding us, people will take notice. Suddenly, when the guys you don’t usually see at Bible study show up, you know they’re struggling with something, grasping for hope or simply a rabbit’s foot for luck. Your peace and joy may not be talked about, but it is noticed. Then eventually, they may just come up and ask you about it, which gives you the opportunity to share Christ’s saving power with them.
Someone I really respect is Benjamin Watson. I watch how he handles himself in the sport, political and family realms. He’s black, he’s an NFL player and he’s a Christian, so people attack him. But he’s a great man who represents Christ well. I know that, just because I’m in the NFL, people are watching. I’m watched as a father, a husband, an athlete and a Christian. There are enough people paying attention to make me want to do this right. I want to reflect Christ.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” — 1 Peter 3:15
— Trey Burton, Chicago Bears tight end
Trey Burton is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions. Check out Trey’s Increase profile here: https://theincrease.com/author/trey-burton/
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