It came as a surprise to me that I could play football at a college level. And it came as an even greater surprise to me that an NFL Team would select me in the NFL Draft.
When I arrived in Nashville to play for the Tennessee Titans, I had heard they had recently signed NFL veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. I had watched Matt play in the NFL for years, and had admired his tenacity and talent level. This guy was a proven winner.
During training camp, Matt immediately reached out to me. He didn’t see me as a threat to his job, but as a young man who could use some mentoring. He began investing his life in mine. Ultimately, it was Matt who reintroduced me to the Jesus of my youth.
I think that’s how God works. He uses people all throughout our lives to point us toward Him, whether we know it or not.
“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere human beings?
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” —1 Corinthians 3:1-9
It’s obvious that Paul is chastising the Corinthian Church here, but an important part of this teaching happens toward the end. Paul gives us a glimpse of the Gospel as it really is. He’s great at doing that.
Some people plant the seed of the Gospel in our lives, and we move on. We don’t respond to it, but something is planted within us, and we unknowingly carry it. Then, someone else comes along and waters that same seed in our lives, maybe years later. And God never quits. He continues to place people into our lives that spur on our growth, whether we know it or not. He loves us and pursues us, and He never stops doing that. Ever.
I bet you can look back at your life, and see how God put people in your path who planted and watered and cultivated and pruned. What are their names? When did they pour into you?
For me, God used Matt to invite me to attend a Christian Conference where I gave my life to Christ. I followed that decision by getting baptized before hundreds of other NFL players and their families. It was an amazing experience, and it set my life on a course where I worship a God who is reigning, and where I’m learning to be a follower of Christ.
If you’re interested in hearing me tell that story, please visit The Increase. You can even watch me get baptized. And yes – my voice is cracking because I’m so nervous, and because the pool is so cold.
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