I blogged about pro baseball player Jeff Francoeur a couple years ago. In 1999 he attended a Fellowship of Christian Athletes event as a 15 year old. His huddle leader was a nineteen year old high school student named Benjamin Watson. It was through the example of Watson at this FCA camp that Francoeur would become a Christian. As you can read in this article from Boston.com from 2008, sharing with others about who God is and His love for them was not a new thing for Watson. He had been telling friends about Jesus from the age of 7.
Watson would go on to play at University of Georgia. He was a first round draft pick of the New England Patriots and has just completed his 10th year in the NFL. But as you can read in this article from Insightful Players, injuries, free agency and other struggles came along as part of the NFL life. But Watson works hard, adapts to what the teams he plays for ask him to do and maintains a positive perspective so he can continue to be a positive influence on his teammates and on others he can influence.
Here are my takeaways from Watson’s story
1- That’s when the real work begins- Watson talks about how he thought he had it made when he got drafted, but then after sustaining an injury and rehabbing it, it didn’t go as planned. Getting drafted in the NFL takes a lot of dedication and hard work. But getting drafted isn’t the end of the road – it is just the beginning. After joining the NFL, the work begins again – it is not the destination, it is just a step in the process. That is kind of like our Christian Faith. Accepting Jesus as our Savior is important and it secures for us a place in heaven that will last forever. But that is also when the real work begins. The work of building our relationship with God, dying to ourselves and living for Him. Like a football player gets drafted and then goes to work to improve and to get better and stronger, we are to do the same in our Christian life. There is always more to learn, so let’s get to work!
2- Finish the Drill – This was saying that University of Georgia coach Mark Richt had for his team. Watson talks about it on his blog. He draws a parallel to our life as Christians and to 2 Timothy 4.7 where Paul writes about fighting the good fight and finishing the race. The writer of Hebrews also talks about casting off the sin that entangles us and running the race that is before us. We will have trials and struggles.
We will know failures and miss the mark in this life. But we are not to give up. We are to focus on Jesus and keep on striving until we reach the finish line.