So, this football season, I will be doing Throwback Thursday posts each week about a historical player from a team that will be playing in the Thursday night game and on “Modern Mondays”, I will write about a current player on one of the teams that will be playing in the Monday Night game. This week, that means that I get to launch my Modern Monday series with a member of my favorite team the New Orleans Saints. Today, we will look into the story of Luke McCown, backup quarterback for the Saints.
McCown was drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 draft by the Cleveland Browns (the team that his older brother Josh currently plays for). In his 13 NFL seasons, he has played for 5 teams and has started 10 games. But life as a career backup has been okay for Luke – he seems to take his role playfully as you can see in the Verizon wireless ads that he appeared in last season.
Luke has shown a sense of humor in being a backup, but he is serious about his faith in God. He and his wife Katy have 6 kids and have instilled in them the importance of knowing God. They homeschool so they can be together as a family during the football season which . In this article from In Magazine He says “They need to know the Bible is true and the most important thing they need to do is obey God.” He adds that “Watching truth come to life in their minds … is something hard to describe. I love being their teacher and an example to my sons and the knight in shining armor or hero, to my daughters.”
He also sees an importance in protecting time with his family. He says “The hardest part of being in the spotlight is learning to say no. I love to give of my time and myself. I feel like that’s why God put me in this position. But, he made me a husband and father first, so I’ve had to learn when and how to say no to some things”
One way to learn about the importance of family is through crisis. Check out this video to hear about McCown’s faith sustaining him and his wife when one of their sons, Elijah, had some health concerns at at age of 4 months.
They diagnosed Elijah with a tumor and scheduled a surgery to remove it from his head. The tumor was not cancerous and he has made a full recovery, but in that situation, McCown said that football didn’t matter, starting or being a back-up didn’t matter. His son was going to be okay and that was far and away more important than anything that McCown could accomplish or experience on the field. McCown continues to play the important role of backup for the Saints. If anything happens to Drew Brees (Read the post I wrote about him here), McCown is next man up. And hearing his story and reading what his wife is up to in her speaking ministry, they are an easy family to cheer for.
You can also check out McCown’s faith story and the importance God plays in his life in this video from Idol’s Aside Ministries
Here are my takeaways from McCown’s story
1- God Directs our Steps – The second video shares a bible verse. Proverbs 16.9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” McCown considers himself a planner and we all like to maintain some kind of control over our lives and the way things happen. However, it is an important lesson to learn that we have very little control. God is in control and has a way to use the things that life brings along to put us where He wants us to be. I know that I have experienced this over and over in my life and I would bet that you have too. The only plan that we can safely make is to plan to trust God and follow Him. Doing that will help us face the highs and lows of life.
2- Family First – In many of the stories that I have shared on these pages, there have been sacrifices made and plans changed by injury, by trade, by slump, by age or by necessity, and there is an importance to being flexible and willing to change with the things that happen (see above where we trust God to direct our steps). You often hear professional athletes talking about their priority list – faith, family, football. This can be a bold statement when made by someone under the scrutiny of the public eye. We see McCown talking about that though when his son was sick. The struggle to order our priorities correctly is something that we all must face. I need to choose to put my family ahead of my work. Many days there are lots of things on my to do list. I have a choice – set my family aside and keep plugging away on my work checklist, or chose to leave a few items on that list and make time for my family. In my life, I strive to keep God first and then I want to make my wife and daughters next on my importance list. Some days this is easier than others. How about you? What does your priority list look like? Is this reflected in the time you spend at each item on the list? Ask God for help! He will gladly help you keep your priorities in the right order.