Christians in the NFL – Lessons learned from Matt Birk – Baltimore Ravens

This is the 4th installment in my series on Christian NFLers. Today’s topic is Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens.

As I began to look into Birk’s story, I noticed a couple similarities to my own story.  We are about the same age, (I am 9 days older) and our strong pro-life stances were strengthened when our first children were born.  Read a story about his pro-life stand here.  And you can read my earlier posted thoughts about being a dad here.

Another thing that captured my attention as I read the story is that Birk’s job as an Offensive Lineman is very important and often thankless.  Birk is a 6 time pro-bowler but still not a common household name outside of Baltimore (and Minnesota where he is from and where he began his pro career) He is very good at his role – one of the best in the league. But the very nature of his job is a thankless one – His nose gets bloodied almost every game it seems –  It is, however, an important role.  If he does his job, his quarterback and running back will have every opportunity to be stars.  He makes them look good by protecting quarterbacks from being hit and opening holes for the running backs to run.  

This spoke to me because sometimes serving others in ministry can be long, hard, thankless work. We may even get hurt.  But ultimately, we don’t need to get the attention on us, it isn’t about us at all. It is God who we want to draw attention to.  By working away for Him, and following his plan for us, we make Him look good. That is a definition that I have heard for glorifying God – making God look good.  He doesn’t need us to make Him look good, but He gives us the opportunity to point others to Him.

And the final thing that I learned from Birk’s story is how he is using his status and fame to spread the Gospel around the world.  He and several other members of the Baltimore Ravens were speakers and panel discussion members for a fund raising event “Football & Faith”.  The event was to raise funds for Kingdom Rain – an organization that trains and coaches Christians in the most unreached areas of the world to reach the people in their countries and share God’s love with them.  It is a very cool and extremely necessary organization and I am grateful for their work.  For more information about them, check out the Kingdom Rain website.

Birk’s story challenges me to serve, even when it seems thankless and hard, and to stand strong for my beliefs to reach those close to me and those around the world.  Acts 1.8 tells us to be witesses to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.  We can participate his glorifying God everywhere.  Let’s go do it!

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