by Rev. Dee Miller – Visitation Pastor / Valpo FUMC
The super bowl just ended and I have to admit that I am thrilled with the results. The Philadelphia Eagles are a wonderful example of being identified with Christ. The coach of the Eagles has systematically throughout the year, brought his faith to the locker room and asked the players to follow his example. Doug Pederson rose from a high school football coach to coaching the Philadelphia Eagles. Before every game, the team prayed together and several times during different games, players could be seen praying before some of the plays on the field. At the time of celebrating winning the super bowl the Eagles’ coach Don said: I can only give the praise to my Lord and savior Jesus Christ for giving me this opportunity. And I’m going to tell you something. I’ve got the best players in the world, and it’s a resilient group. I love this coaching staff. Mr. Lurie, the owner. And not only do we have the best fans in the world, we now have the best team in the world. Thank you guys.” What an incredible moment on national television for a coach to be so unified with Christ that he would praise Him and given him the glory!
Then we look at the Quarterback Nick Foles and we have to say that going into the playoffs, he had not been doing so well. It is a well-known fact that Nick is in the process of getting a divinity degree and hopes to someday be a pastor when his football career is over. Nick Foles has to be the most famous backup quarterback in the world today. Forced into action when franchise quarterback Carson Wentz went down earlier in the season with a knee injury, he led his team to the world title and was named Super Bowl MVP. Tight end Zach Ertz, who made the game-winning catch, then told the audience, “Glory to God first and foremost.” Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles followed Ertz to the microphone and said the same thing. Nick Foles describes himself on Twitter as a “believer in Jesus Christ, husband, father, son, brother.” Many of his teammates share his faith in Jesus and are willing to make their commitment public.
The issue of athletes glorifying God at the end of victories is an ongoing debate. Some see it as an imposition of personal faith on the public. Others ask whether the players would have praised God if they had lost. I believe that even if they had lost, the coach and team would have praised God for giving them the opportunity to play in this final game together. To me, Coach Pederson and his players were simply following the biblical example: “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory” (Psalm 115:1). Scripture teaches, “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise” (James 5:13). We are commanded to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” (Hebrews 13:15).
When are we to glorify God? “Continually.” The Eagles came through the playoffs as the underdogs but they looked to God for their perseverance and unified themselves with God’s vision. IT is when we work in our lives to align our lives with Christ that we find that we can accomplish anything because we first know that we are identified as a child of God!