Shedding Godly Light

Benjamin Watson is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.


A New Plan


God has His plan for where He wants our family to be, and right now that’s Baltimore. Though I thought we’d be in New Orleans, God had a different plan; I know that this is the place for us because the door opened and things really fell into place.


Baltimore has always showed up during significant times in my life. Our youngest daughter, Eden, was born right after we played here in August during preseason last year. The night of the riots in Ferguson, MO was right after we played Baltimore on a Monday night. And many years ago, my grandmother passed away the week we played Baltimore. It seems a bit ironic that we are here now but we’re so excited to get to know this community. No matter where we are, whether that be Cleveland, New Orleans, New England, or Baltimore, we want to shed a godly light in the community.


A New Team


There’s great leadership here with Johnny Shelton and many other coaches and players. I’m excited to see how God can be used through us on and off the field. I know that the mere fact that I am one of the older guys on the team will automatically put me in a leadership role.  There’s a certain amount of respect I remember having for veteran players when I first entered the league so I do relish that role. It’s something that, on the one hand, you know you’re getting older, but on the other, there’s wisdom that I can pass on to other players—mistakes I’ve made and successes I’ve had, not only on the football field but in life in general. One of the things that I’ve loved over the years in New Orleans is the relationships that are made off the field, talking to guys about family, relationships, parenthood, and being a man of God. Talking to the guys about this stuff, I made sure I was always someone who would shoot it to them straight. They may hear things from me that they may not hear from others because I don’t care what people think, I want to speak the truth.


One of the unique things about football is that strong bonds can be formed quickly over the course of only a couple practices and a few games. In our field, building trust can be accelerated because we know we may not be with the same people for a long time and also because we go through so many different emotions with each other that the bonds form pretty quickly. I’m really looking forward to forming these bonds with my new teammates.


A New City


Baltimore is a place of a lot of civil unrest and political strife right now. I don’t pretend that I know all that is going on or have all the answers but I do want to be intentional about my community. Last week I was watching the local news and I saw that there was an incident that happened at a local high school where a kid was writing what was supposed to be a satire, about taking black people to the Sahara and blowing them up with a nuclear bomb. There was a lot of fallout from that. There was a town hall meeting at a local church about this so I decided to be there. As I sat in on this I was able to hear some of the students and parents from the school discuss it all. I knew then that here, just like anywhere else, there are definitely a lot of race and economic problems.


As time goes on we will meet people strategically and see whatever it is that God may have for us here to get involved with. We may be able to impact one person or many whether we have the urge to be quiet and listen, to speak up and say something, or to be hands-on in a situation when opportunities come—we want to be obedient to God’s lead.


—Benjamin Watson
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