Athletes and Giving Jesus Praise

We have all heard it before.

The athlete after a victory (usually the one that made the difference in the game) is asked by the sports’ reporter about the game and the response is something like, “First of all, I want to give thanks to Jesus Christ because without Him none of this would be possible.”

Now, I don’t know how some of you think about this. Some might be very encouraged and say, “Wow, he’s a Christian!” Others might say, “Uh… that was not the question that was asked! It seems kind of inappropriate.”

Either way, I have always found myself in a dilemma when I hear these kinds of statements.

On one hand, I am encouraged to hear someone who is a Christ’s follower to have a platform like a nationally televised NCAA Bowl Game and then give witness to their faith in Christ. But then on the other hand, there are times when I am cynical. Since I don’t know the athlete’s personal life (off the field), I wonder if they are really radical followers of Christ or not. Now remember, saying something and then living it out are two completely different things.

Yesterday, after Texas won against Ohio State, in the brief interview on the field one of the players gave praise to God before answering the question. Colt McCoy the offensive MVP of the game made his commitment to Jesus very clear as he received the award by saying, “I want to thank Jesus Christ my Savior…”

Hmm… politically correct? Definitely not.

Also, I don’t know if you have noticed, but now some of the “Christian” players are writing down Bible verses on their “eye black strips” (the ones that you see right below their eyes). They are suppose to reflect the sun or the lights’ rays from the eyes, which help the players to see better. I saw a few of them in the game – “Phil 3:14” and “Gal 2:20” (thank God for all the years of bible memory contests).

So this got me thinking about even a greater question – “Are there any other religions that cause players to give credit to their god or write down verses from their religious texts?”

Can you imagine a Scientologist saying, “I want to first thank L. Ron Hubbard for helping me in this game!”

How about a Buddhist saying, “I want to thank Buddha, the big man (literally) upstairs for the victory.”

Now, maybe we can imagine a Muslim saying, “I want to thank Allah for giving me success in this game. Great is Allah.” But we have not heard it yet.

This got me more curious and before I fell asleep after the Texas vs. OSU game, I gave it some thought. Then I realized that one possible reason why some people in other religions might not give praise to their god is because Christianity is personal by nature.

It is a personal relationship with a God that even though He is transcendent, He is also imminent. Islam does not have the concept of intimacy with Allah (like Christianity does about God the Father and His children). Other religions are based on “teachings” rather than a personal relationship with a God that is alive.

It was as if a light bulb went off in my head.

This is why when I produce or do something that is good on my computer, I will not praise my computer (it is an object and impersonal)… but I do praise God because He has enabled me to accomplish something through the computer He has provided.