Friday, November 24, 2006

Brett Favre: A Picture of Following Christ

Brett Favre is the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. Being a NFL starting quarterback is pretty rare. Out of all the athletes in the world there are only 32 men this week that can make that claim. What’s even more rare is that Favre has been a starting NFL quarterback since September 27, 1992. He has started a record 231 games across 14 years. He has to be THE most durable NFL player ever!

Don’t forget, every time he puts on a helmet and begins a game, 300 pound men on the other team make their living by hitting, tackling and burying Favre. They take their work very seriously and they are very good at what they do.

Favre was hit so hard in a game in 1992 that he suffered a separated shoulder. Yet he came back the next week and threw two touchdowns and won the game. In 1995 he sprained his ankle so badly that he was on crutches for a week. However, when the game started on Sunday he not only suited up but he passed for five touchdowns! In 1999 Favre’s right hand was so swollen he kept holding a football while on the sidelines of a game so that he wouldn’t lose the capacity to hold and throw the football when the offense took the field.

Last Sunday Favre was knocked out of a game against New England when his right elbow was hit while being tackled. He would have played through the pain but he didn’t have any. He didn’t have any feeling at all. His hand and fingers went so numb he couldn’t hold the ball.

This Monday the Packers are scheduled to play the Seattle Seahawks. Officially Favre is listed as “questionable” as to whether he will start or play in the game. Seahawk coach Mike Holmgren, who used to coach Favre in Green Bay, is betting that Favre will be on the field competing.

I don’t know if Brett Favre is a Christian or not so don’t misunderstand me when I say he is a picture of following Christ. I’m not speaking about his faith or even his behavior. I’m referring to his capacity to persevere.

Maybe the words “perseverance” and “Christian” seem odd to you. After all many who claim to be Christian don’t seem to have much staying power when it comes to loving “hard to love” people or forgiving those who hurt them or sacrificially giving to meet the needs of others. Many that I know can’t even make themselves get out of bed on Sunday morning to worship who they say they believe to be the Ruler of the Universe!

But don’t let those examples fool you. The most dedicated, tenacious, gutsy people I’ve ever known are Christians. They follow Christ through life’s hardest scenarios and count it a privilege to suffer pain or losses if it honors Christ and helps others. Many around the world have endured horrific treatment and torture and some have witnessed loved ones killed before their eyes, as their tormentors demanded that they renounce their faith in Christ or else.

Jesus said, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne…” (Revelation 3:21, NIV).

Brett Favre can claim credit for persevering in football. However, Christians can’t claim credit for their perseverance. The only way they do persevere is because of God’s power and grace at work in their lives. In fact, perseverance is a sign that they in fact do have a saving faith.

If you think that you’ve never seen the kind of “faith-full”, courageous and generous Christ follower that I’m describing then it just may be that you live in America. They are becoming a bit more rare in the United States. Still, I know and do life with hundreds of them.
Before you make a final decision on whether you would give your one and only life in following Christ, I would encourage you to get to know an authentic, persevering Christian. Their lives will inspire you, but what’s more, their lives will give you a powerful reflection of the Person of Christ.

No comments: