This is the 11th installment in my blog series on Christian NFLers. Today we look at the story of new Raiders linebacker Aaron Curry.
Aaron Curry was the #4 overall pick in the NFL draft in 2009, taken by the Seahawks. He ran into some issues in Seattle. He has been considered a draft bust. And as the NFL trade deadline arrives, he was traded to Oakland. He debuts in their starting lineup on Sunday.
In Seattle, his critics were loud and everywhere. Twitter was blowing up with chatter about the wasted pick used to draft him, and the excitement that they had that he was traded. It was pretty harsh.
This week though, as you can read in this ESPN article, was a week unlike most for Curry. Monday, generally a day off, the Seahawks as a team, were celebrating an win against the Giants, Tuesday it was back to work, and back to his reps as a backup linebacker. Wednesday, rumors started swirling about a trade and Thursday he was dealt to Oakland. Friday he was named the new starting weak side linebacker for Raiders, and tomorrow, he will play his first game for his new team.
Curry is looking forward to a new situation and a chance to start fresh in Oakland. Coach Hue Jackson has offered him a clean slate and a new start, forgetting what has been said about Curry and his work ethic, and grasp of the game. He knows that the critics are many and vocal. As you can read in this Seattle Times article. He entered the season, looking to improve on. Patience, playbook learning and discipline.
He credits his faith in God for helping him focus on these areas in an effort to improve his game. There are a lot of lessons we can take from this story, too.
1- Patience. – Patience, Playbook learning, and Discipline. These are things that we all need in our Christian walk, too. Patience has many chances to develop in our walk with God. Dealing with other people, waiting on God’s plan, being pruned to bear more fruit, dealing with the “flaming arrows of the enemy” – any trial that we have, we will have a chance to have patience grow in our lives.
2 – Playbook Learning – It is vital, as a football player, to know the playbook inside and out. Without complete knowledge, he will be hindered in his effectiveness. It is an easy step to see how we need to know our playbook, the bible, in the same way. If we study, we will be more effective in how God can use us. God is able to do anything, including working through our shortcomings, but if we do all we can to know God and seek his direction, we will see Him do incredible things in and through us. Without study, we will be lost, confused and be ineffective.
Knowing the Bible completely will help us know and understand God’s plan, our role and the final outcome of the battle. No NFL playbook can do that. If you want God to use you effectively, it is important that you spend time studying the playbook.
3- Discipline – This is important because it will help us put out the effort to grow in our Christian faith. We need discipline to tithe, to make time with God a priority, to serve others, and to make God #1 in our lives. This requires a plan, some intentionality to sacrifice the things we want for the things we need. By nature we want to look out for ourselves and do what we want, not thinking of God or others. Discipline means to set that aside and know that the work will be worth the effort.
4- A New Start – Coach Jackson offered Curry what he needed – another chance and willingness to forget the past. Does that sound familiar? God offers the same to all people who choose to follow Him. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Philippians 3. It is a great picture of what God offers. Paul tells us that he isn’t “there” yet in his walk with God. “But this is what I do” he continues “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.”
Aaron Curry can leave the past behind and start anew, and we can as well. God offers forgiveness to any who ask for it. We can forget our past and strain to what lies ahead. It will be a struggle (strain) but God has a plan and we will be victorious in Him.
I hope that Aaron Curry’s career gets righted in this Oakland. I appreciate his openness with his faith. He is always sharing verses and thoughts about God on his Twitter account. Some people are turned off by this, but he doesn’t let it deter him. Check out some of the feedback on his tweets here. I’d like to link to his page, but with the trade, he has shut down his twitter account. I expect he will open a new one soon with Raiders info. Best of luck to him, may he keep looking forward, straining ahead and keep sharing God’s word, in voice, on twitter, and everywhere God leads him. If you want to follow his twitter feed, find him at @aaroncurry51.