Sometimes the greatest time to dive into God’s Word is in the middle of seasons filled with conflict and uncertainty. For many NFL players, that’s training camp. Guys are fighting for a spot on the team before the season kicks off. While many team Bible studies don’t start until the beginning of the season, I want to make sure we start sooner than that, even if that means simply getting a few guys together to pray. Then we can intentionally carry this into the season.
Guys need something to sustain them in the NFL. I know what sustains me and I want to share that with my teammates. During OTAs, we were intentional about this. In our group of receivers, we would gather after practice each day and take a knee, asking if anyone had anything they needed prayer for. Then we would pray before everyone went their own way.
This gives guys a little time to pause. It seems like a simple, small thing to do, but I’ve seen where this can lead. This is how it started in Philly when I was first on the Eagles — in prayer circles. From there, the fellowship and discipleship of the team grew exponentially. But it starts with prayer, putting God first, dropping to a knee where you are, and sharing your gratitude to God for where He’s brought you.
I’m looking forward to growing with these men. I love the receivers and the receivers’ coaches on the 49ers. I love watching how the Word of God can change a team and change lives. And this can begin when we’re able to get out of the football talk and start talking about real stuff. It’s the side conversations that lead to open hearts.
Recently, as I’ve been reading God’s Word on my own, studying the book of Matthew, I was struck with a truth I hadn’t seen before. When Jesus was on mission, He came across a tree that was not bearing fruit. He cursed the tree and moved on — why did He do that?
It was suddenly made clear to me that Jesus saw this tree as representing the religious leaders of the day, those who were so caught up on outward appearances that they made no effort to produce fruit for the Kingdom. This could easily be me. Many know that I’m outwardly talking about my faith, but if I don’t make sure I’m living it out each day, I could be that fruitless tree.
What I learn in God’s Word helps me reach out to others. Knowing the context and setting of Christ’s ministry matters because we can then see the reasons why and how He approached certain audiences. When we aim to do this, we too can tailor our discussions with others in ways that share Christ’s love and truth and are applicable for them.
If I claim the Gospel is the most important thing in my life, I better act like it. If this is truly what matters most to me, people need to see it in action.
— Jordan Matthews, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver
Jordan Matthews is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions. Check out Jordan’s Increase profile: https://theincrease.com/author/jordan-matthews/
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