Jesus is everything to me. Everything starts, ends, and revolves around who He is, what He’s done, and what He’s still doing. My worth, satisfaction, joy, peace, comfort, and ultimately my salvation are direct results of His work in my life. To exclude Him from my sport—the area He’s most gifted me in—would be extremely careless. If He’s that vital to every aspect of my life, why not include Him in every part of it, especially my sport?
My career in the NFL gives me the opportunity to let people see Jesus. Through the avenue of football, I can show others what my life and aim is all about—what being a champion is all about. The way I see it, if somebody else believes in something so strongly, whether it’s right or wrong, I would hope they would love me enough to tell me about it! In the same way, if I’ve really seen the Lord work in my life—if I’ve seen His power to be true—I would be doing everyone a disadvantage if I didn’t talk about it. It would be selfish to keep the truth of the Gospel and Christ’s love to myself. Why would I want to keep this a secret?
The way I play football—the intensity and passion I pour into my practices, training, and games—is extremely important to me. If God has truly gifted me with a talent, I want to maximize it to the best of my ability. Otherwise, I would be wasting His gift. My athletic career is just one avenue with which I can share Jesus. So many people are gifted musically, intellectually, or otherwise, where they can bring glory to God. We are all called to work diligently and faithfully at our craft so that people will look at us and ask “What motivates you to work so hard and not cut corners?” This gives us the opportunity to talk to them about Jesus.
True change happens when something outside of your person is motivating you. You can work really hard to get a win, but if a win doesn’t come, will you still work hard? If you are only motivated by your own results, your determination won’t last. But if there are external things driving you, your purpose and passion won’t fluctuate based on the scoreboard. Having this mindset is a game changer.
“I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you My power and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” —Exodus 9:16
I want people to know why I do what I do. I’m not just another player working hard to find success. Jesus is the one who makes a greater, long-lasting change in me. He’s the one who gives me peace, joy, and satisfaction in all circumstances. There are so many things to worry about and so many people suffering in different ways. If we let the stress, anxiety, depression, love of money, affection of fans, or desire for attention drain us of our energy, we will continue to struggle to find our identity. But when our identity is placed in Christ, we know our worth is unshakable. His is a love which remains constant no matter how good or bad our results may be that day.
He is the one worth playing for.
Chris Maragos is a safety and special teams ace with the Philadelphia Eagles. He is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.
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