Dear Cam Newton, Jesus Tried to Tell You

football-801047_1280I don’t know Cam Newton – never met the man. So I confess, everything I know about him comes from the news and his public actions. He seems to be a very talented athlete, and superstar athletes have their own brand of swagger.

A lot of people call it arrogance. It sure does feel that way sometimes. Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, was constantly accused of being arrogant. I understand that performing at that level requires a certain amount of confidence. But at some point the confidence moves into arrogance, especially when you’re flaunting performance in the face of your opponents.

Since I don’t know the man I can’t say where his confidence/arrogance balance is – I just know that it can be a fine line to walk for any of us. You don’t have to be a superstar athlete to wrestle with that balance. Jesus talked about humility. The Bible tells us:

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” ~ Luke 14:7-11

Sure enough, even superstars get humbled.

As I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t know Cam Newton. I try not to make assumptions on his character and personality, since all I see is a public persona. But the words of Jesus are important for superstars and nobodies. Humility is a quality we would all do well to embrace.

To paraphrase Jesus, “Embrace humility before humility embraces you!”

God Doesn’t Want Tim Tebow to Play Football

So Tim Tebow is signing with the Philadelphia Eagles. Tebow Tim is one of those players that causes a lot of controversy in America. And the controversy isn’t because of bad behavior off the field like so many other football players. He hasn’t beat his child or his girlfriend. Hasn’t been arrested for anything. No drunken bar brawls.

He’s just flagrantly Christian.

This little fact has set football fans against each other. Non-Christian football fans seem fed up with Tebow’s holiness (the clean-cut, wholesome, praying on the field young man). Many Christian football fans seem bent on declaring the Lord’s favor upon Tebow’s football career BECAUSE Tim is a Christian.

I’m not a Tebow hater. I think he’s an incredible guy. I like who he is as a human. His Christian behavior and attitude seems authentic and not just a façade. But I don’t think he’s blessed as a football player because of his faith. I don’t think God really has a vested interest in football.

God watches HockeySo Christians: keep in mind, an athlete’s success probably has very little to do with the hand of God. Non-Christians: give Tebow a break. He’s the kind of guy that would thank God for anything, on or off the field. It’s just who is as a person of faith.

He lives out the words of Colossians 3:17 ~

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

This is the way we should all be living – no matter what our job is. We can be football players, school teachers, plumbers, or anything else. Live life for Jesus, giving thanks to God.

Will people scoff at us? Probably. Non-believers don’t get it.

That’s okay – do it anyway.

If you have a sense of humor, you can see a funny sketch from Saturday Night Live about Tebow and Jesus here. If you don’t have a sense of humor about religious things, just avoid the sketch.

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