If you watched the Super Bowl last night you saw an unusually exciting game that caused me, a former rugby player who does not follow all the intricacies of American football (what is the difference between a runner and a receiver that caused dispute over a touchdown?), to watch it until the end. Then, surprise! At the trophy presentation I discovered that the coach for the Philadelphia Eagles and his star quarterback are committed Christians who made a witness to Christ. First of all, they said, they gave glory to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What a startling change from athletes glorying in their own prowess.
Doug Pederson, came from coaching at a Christian school before the Eagles. Nick Foles is studying online at Liberty University for a masters of divinity degree. He wants to be a pastor. What a surprise. In a season in which there was so much controversy over NFL players disrespecting the national anthem and athletes with the image of spoiled brats who are paid far too much, it was so refreshing to see two stars humbling acknowledging their gifts as God given.
They challenge us to remember to give God the glory for all that he has done for us. St. Paul reminds us:
“God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord’ [Jeremiah 9:24].” (1 Corinthians 1:28-31)
At the conclusion of the post-game locker room huddle, Pederson told the team to get on their knees and pray. “Let’s take one knee,” and they prayed the Lord’s Prayer together. You can watch it on video. What a witness!
How can we give a Christian witness in our daily lives? How can we give Christ the glory and be thankful for all that he has done for us? Let Doug and Nick be an example to us of humility and gratitude.