I was honored to speak at the Southside Christian School football chapel before the Ware Shoals game on Friday, August 26, 2016. I tried hard not to brag about my own accomplishments as a football player; I hope my words didn’t come across that way, but I also praise God for the ways that He used the sport to mold me and shape me into the man I became. If you would like to read the outline of that message, “Don’t Make Football an Idol,” please read on. . . .
“Don’t Make Football an Idol
By Dr. Bob Stouffer, Upper School Principal, Southside Christian School
Friday, August 26, 2016
Football was an important part of my life.
I was the fat center on the flag football team in an elementary school of 1,200 students.
I battled to become the starting nose guard of a team in a junior high school of 1,500 students.
I started as a linebacker on a state championship team of over 100 juniors and seniors in a high school of 2,750 students.
<Here I am as a 16-year-old.>
<This is my actual jersey.>
I was a 3-year starter on a Division-III university team.
<Here I am as a 21-year-old.>
<This is a Winona State University jersey.>
I served as an assistant varsity coach of a Class 3A state championship team.
<Here I am as a 27-year-old.>
In spite of football’s importance in my life, I am pleased to say that I never raised the sport to the status of an idol.
I also experienced very enjoyable success as a singer in high school choir, as a competitive debater, and as student body president.
As you heard, I played on a state championship team and coached a state championship team, but God kept me humble.
In college, my teams were 6-34, with an 0-11 senior season. Still, God allowed me to be selected by the head coaches as the Most Valuable Player of the Northern Intercollegiate Conference.
I say those things not to brag but to give God the glory.
I was not a big linebacker. I was 5’10,” 185 pounds.
I was not fast. My best 40 time ever was 4.9.
But I loved the game, had a nose for the ball, and loved to hit people.
I was never a follower of Jesus when I played and coached football. I became a believer as a high school principal at 36 years of age.
I often wonder how much better a football player I would have been with the Holy Spirit taking residence in me!
Football is an important part of your life.
But football is not the most important part of your life.
In Colossians 3, verses 1-17, Paul indicates what should be most important in your life, and that is how I close today. . . .
3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
. . .Do your very best tonight, Sabres! “. . .whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (ESV)
Let’s pray. . .