Monday, February 4, 2013

Ray Lewis and the Gospel

I like so many others watched the Super Bowl last night. I have to admit it was the first time in my 51 years that I watched it with an all female audience. Yep, I was the only man in the house. Well if you don't count my two male kittens that is! It was definitely a new experience watching it with only female voices. The commercials and the half time show got more attention than the football but that is usually the case regardless of the male/female ratio of the Super Bowl party.

I didn't have a favorite team in the game but I thought that the Ravens would win the game. The two teams were pretty equal in talent and both were playing some of their best football of the year heading into the big game in the big easy. I missed the score by a touchdown each side but I thought it would be a very close game and it turned out to be so after someone turned off the lights! I'll bet there were some anxious Superdome Officials running around trying to find out who pulled the plug on that one. But the reason I thought the Ravens would win was simple, they had Ray Lewis and the 49ers didn't.

I know some don't think it matters, but when he said he was retiring, I believed that meant that this team would win it all. Talent tends to equal itself out in the NFL. But the will to win, that is rarer than pure gold these days. Most players would have shut it down and waited till next year if you tear a bicep muscle mid season. Not Ray Lewis. I don't even care if he did use Deer Antler spray to get back quicker. How many other guys would have gutted it out on one arm like he did for the playoff run? Sure he couldn't cover like he did when he won the first Super Bowl for the Ravens twelve years ago. But what he could do was look those other ten men in the eyes when the game was on the line and say there is no way we are going to lose this game like this. I would bet if they told what he said it might be something along the line of I didn't come back through all that pain to let it slip away on the last drive. Now let's stop them four times and win our trophy! And that is what they did.

Then there is the fact that all through the playoff run Ray has been spouting scriptures after the games like Tim Tebow on steroids. Don't read anything about either man's choice of supplements in that phrase. Sometimes he got them right and sometimes well it didn't quite fit the real meaning of the verses. But still the word of the Lord was being proclaimed right? It kinda reminded me of what Paul wrote in Philippians 1 when he said:

12Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has actually resulted in the advance of the gospel, 13so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is in ⌊the cause of⌋ Christ. 14Most of the brothers in the Lord have gained confidence from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the message fearlessly. 15To be sure, some preach Christ out of envy and strife, but others out of good will. 16These do so out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;17the others proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely, seeking to cause me anxiety in my imprisonment. 18What does it matter? Just that in every way, whether out of false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed. And in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice 

Then someone asked me today whether I thought Ray Lewis was indeed a changed man. I am not qualified to judge him on that one. I don't know him personally. I don't know what he does when the cameras are not on him but I would like to think he is the same man. From other's accounts it seems that he is indeed a changed man. Why is it that we say that Jesus can save any of us and make us more like His Son Jesus and then when He actually does it in a person's life who happens to be a public figure that we want to doubt it?

Ray Lewis should be a poster child for the gospel. If Jesus can transform a loud-mouthed, associate of murders, thug from Miami, then isn't that good news for all the rest of us? I have always admired Ray Lewis for his style of play and his choice of numbers. This year I have come to admire the fact that he is willing to go out on his own terms and talk about his faith in an open way before a doubting nation. And if he falls, then I will still admire him if he repents and returns. That seems to be what Jesus would do. That seems to be what Jesus did when he elevated this team and gave them the biggest platform available in the NFL. When a coach is saying how much of a difference faith in God makes and players are talking about God having a special plan for a team, then just maybe the rest of the league will take notice and more players of faith will step up and be a Christian who happens to play football rather than a football player who happens to be a Christian. And believe me that makes a huge difference!

No comments:

Post a Comment