I have mentioned many times on these pages that I love looking into the stories of these Christian Athletes and sharing how God is working in their lives. I also enjoy finding the curious parts of their lives that add intrigue to their stories. Maybe an athletes is also a blogger (Benjamin Watson and Jeremy Affeldt, or climbs mountains in their spare time (R.A. Dickey), authored children’s books (Donald Driver and Eric Fehr) or their strange name has a cool meaning (O.J. Atogwe or Jarrod Saltalamacchia). There are interesting things in all the stories that I have shared, but the story I share today may have more levels of intrigue that any other that I have shared so far. Today, we look at the story of Defensive Lineman Rosey Grier.
The first bit of interest for me is that Rosey and I share a birthday. I remember my mom was always aware of celebrities that we shared a birthday with in our family. It is the reason that I have a personalized greeting from President Gerald Ford. We shared a birthday, so she sent him a greeting on my behalf and a couple months later, I got a note from him. Anyway, Rosey Grier was another name that was on my “birthday list”. I knew he was a football player, but only over the past year have I really learned that Rosey was so much more than a football player over the course of his life.
But let’s start on the field where Roosevelt Grier was a third round pick by the New York Giants in 1955. He played for the Giants for 7 seasons, being named to 3 All-Pro and 2 Pro Bowl teams and a 1956 NFL Championship. He was traded to the Rams in 1963 and joined the “Fearsome Foursome” one of the great defensive lines in the history of the NFL. He would spend 4 seasons with the Rams before an Achilles injury would end his career. He finished his career with 44.5 sacks in 11 seasons (21 of them in his 4 seasons with the Rams).
During his career, Rosey also recorded and released some music singles. When he was traded to LA, he found opportunities in Hollywood to try acting. He has published a book called “Needlepoint for Men”. And in 1968, he volunteered as a body guard for Robert Kennedy’s family. In fact, he was there when Robert Kennedy was shot, and was the one that subdued the assassin, wrestled the gun from him and then protected him from the crowd that wanted to hurt him. Read more about it here, or check out this video of Grier talking about his role that night.
The last resume item I want to share with you is Rosey Grier, ordained minister. He has been speaking at “Lead Like Jesus” conferences and involved in reaching into the community and helping people in need. He talks about his purpose in this way. He says “My part is to just do my part.” So how did football player, singer, actor, bodyguard, needlepoint/macrame enthusiast Rosey Grier add pastor to this incredible resume? Well, as you can read in this article from Crosswalk, Rosey Grier’s son Roosevelt Jr asked him in 1978 if they could go to church. Rosey resisted but when the younger Rosey pressed, they went. That morning, Grier heard that Gospel message and it changed the course of his life. He remarried his ex-wife, made learning about God a priority and began working towards becoming Rev. Rosey Grier. From the article: “Now, he reaches out to those who suffer from the same depression and hopelessness that caused him to “close myself inside my apartment and close the drapes” in the early 1970s.” And in pursuing God, he has seen his other pursuits take off, too. He says “It seemed everything I was doing was unfruitful. I’d bring in lawyers to help kids and those kids would get right back into the same problems. I was like a soldier who was too long on the battlefield. When I came to know Him, I suddenly knew He was the real answer to society’s problems. That God was what could change the world.”
Check out this video that shares Grier’s view on his time in football, faith in God and studying the Bible.
Here are my takeaways from Grier’s story:
1- I’m in the Whole Bible – Grier shares in the video the way the Bible has become more exciting for him. He read some of the action-packed story parts of the bible, but was not interested in some of the other spots (He mentions Ecclesiastes by name) but then when he started reading it, God revealed to him “I’m in the whole Bible”. I love that. I have similar experiences frequently. I heard the stories of the Bible so frequently in my younger years that I was quick to tune out the stories of scripture. But when I chose to make God a priority in my life, and I began to seek Him, I saw these same old stories with new eyes. They came alive to me as Rosey says in this video, the whole Bible became exciting. Do you find the same when you read God’s Word? Ask Him to help you read it and understand more about Him through the words and stories. And then get ready. It is an amazing book about and amazing God that has an amazing love to show you through his amazing Grace.
2- My Part is to do my Part – So what is our response? When we see what God is doing and what He has in store for us, what should we do? Well, we should be prepared to do whatever He asks us to do. He has a role for us each to play. We will not see the whole picture of why He is working out the things He is working out. But we can trust that His plan is in place and that it will be perfect. And then we can live out each day asking Him to help us do our part. We don’t need to worry about what others are doing. Let’s just focus on doing our part and letting Him deal with the details.