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View from the Pew

April 12, 2002|By Jerry Godsey

Special to this newspaper

Can we observe a moment of silence for the football season that ended not too long ago?

Thank you.

Like many American males I look forward annually to Super Bowl Sunday with mixed emotions.

While I am excited to see the biggest game of the year, I am saddened by the fact that it signals the end of the football season.

I love the shows on ESPN about Super Bowl champions past and present. The shows are full of interviews with men who had risen to the pinnacle of their sport. These were the superstars of professional football: men like Joe Montana, Joe Theisman, Lawrence Taylor, Bart Starr. All shared the knowledge they were champions. All of their work had paid off. They had made it to the top and they had the Super Bowl rings to show it.


I can't help but remember one of my favorite players of all time.

Dick Butkus was probably the fiercest competitor of his or any other time. If a Super Bowl could be won by determination and will alone, he would have won plenty. The only problem is, he never made it to the Super Bowl. I don't think he even got close.

Every season the Bears would come to camp with high hopes for winning it all. Then by the middle of the season, reality would set in. They weren't going to make it this year or the next. How do you go on? What makes you continue to play a physically demanding, painful game when you know your team can't win?

It's too easy to say they do it for the money. Most athletes today are set for life. If they miss a couple of unimportant games because they are hurt, they still get paid.

No, there must be something more.

I believe it is the heart of a champion. These people possess a heart that refuses to quit, even in the face of overwhelming odds. When the world tells them the game is over, champions will look at the clock and calculate how much time they have to come back.

In 1 Samuel 17 we find the Israelites running out to battle Goliath and the Philistines every day. Unfortunately, Goliath was 9 feet tall and when the Israelites saw him they all turned chicken, got weak-kneed and ran home in fear.

When young David told Saul that he could take Goliath, Saul pointed out his deficiencies: "You're just a farmer. This man has been a fighting man since he was young. He's bigger than you are!"

David listened out of respect, then began to tell Saul why Goliath was going to go down.

"But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.'" (1 Samuel 17:34-37 New International Version)

You know the rest of the story. David loaded up his slingshot and fired the shot heard 'round the world. Goliath fell into a heap and the Israelites whupped the Philistines.

What made the difference? The heart of a champion, the refusal to look at circumstances and be frightened. Instead of seeing a 9-foot giant in front of him, David saw an opponent who had defied his God. Goliath had to go down. It was that simple!

David looked deep inside where the Spirit of God was dwelling. David's courage did not come from his own abilities, rather from the abilities of the One who sent him. David might not be able to take Goliath on his own, but with God's help there was no way he could lose.

We have access to the same power, if we will quit looking at circumstances. God will give it to you, if you ask. My grandfather asked a man once, "How are you living, under the circumstances?" The man answered, "Praise God, I'm living above the circumstances."

We can live above the circumstances. We can look the giants of our lives in the eye and tell them, "You're going down!"

The strength doesn't come from us, it comes from God. Let God have control of your life and see what He can do with it. He can't do any worse than you've done!

Loading my slingshot … Jerry

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