Gridiron Faith – Christians in the NFL – Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers

Panthers Running Back Jonathan Stewart

As a Saints fan, I am pretty familiar with the other teams in their division.  From years of watching NFC South, two words come immediately to mind when I think about the Carolina Panthers – “running game”  That is a little bit of a generalization since they do have outstanding Steve Smith as a wide out (read my post about him here), but the Panthers are largely known for their ability to run the ball with DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and now, Cam Newton as dangerous weapons in the backfield.  It may be time for a new nickname.  A couple years ago Williams and Stewart called themselves “smash and dash”.  But that led to some controversy because Titans duo (at the time) LenDale White and Chris Johnson, had already (according to them) claimed that nickname.  Williams and Stewart started a web-site to allow fans to vote on their new nickname, and eventually “Double Trouble” was chosen.

Stewart and "double trouble" teammate DeAngelo Williams

Stewart was drafted in the first round of the  2008 draft.  In 4 seasons, he has put up great numbers considering that he is sharing carries in a busy backfield.  He hopes to be the #1 guy someday, but he is content to be on the Panthers right now.  He is a blogger, and as you can read on his blog, his posts often talk about God and how faith in God guides his career and his life.

He also is an aspiring music producer – You can check out his myspace page here.  As you can read in this article by  Music is something that he does for fun.  He really enjoys it and knows that it is another talent that God has blessed him with.

Stewart has been an effective weapon for the Panthers since 2008

Now, it is confession time.  There is a battle that goes on in my brain, and it comes from the culture of Christianity that encourages us to keep our distance from all things that are not Christian.  When I read about the artists and musicians that Stewart hopes to work with, my initial reaction is that “he shouldn’t want to work with them, they are not people he should want to associate with”.  Then words like those we read in Matthew 9.11 come to mind.  Why is Jesus eating with sinners and tax collectors?  Because he came to save them too!  Jesus says in Mark 2. “It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick”.  Everyone has sinned, we are ALL in need of a savior, why on earth would those of us who have met our savior, not want others to know Him, too?.  We are called to be “Christ to the World”  we are to follow his example.  The truth is that God has gifted Stewart with a passion and ability to create music and appeal to others who share a love for this style of music.  The music is going to be created anyway, why not have someone who loves God be a part of that and have a little ray of God’s light shining in that dark place?

How can this thought challenge us?  Where can we take the gifts God has given you and use them to draw others to Him?  Let’s “Go and do likewise!”


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