Twin scores for recovering brother

By October 7, 2011 Sports In Focus

Last week The Kansas City Star reported that Olathe South’s Taylor Sheffield scored the winning
touchdown over rival Olathe Northwest after being motivated by his brother’s recovery.

Taylor’s brother, Zack Sheffield was recovering from a football injury from the previous game that destroyed his left kidney. Because of complications he was unable to attend the next week’s game against Northwest. At halftime of the game against Olathe Northwest, he was announced as homecoming king and the crowd roared its approval, Zach — decked out in a cardboard Burger King crown a friend brought to the hospital as a gag — could only listen via the Ustream feed his dad set up so he could watch the game from the motorized bed in his hospital room. Fittingly, the last touchdown in the seesaw affair, the one that tied the game at 41-41, came on a 70-yard kickoff return by Taylor, who weaved through Ravens defenders. “I did it all for my brother,” Taylor said. “On that kickoff return, it felt like he was right there with me as one of my lead blockers. He was clearing a path for me all the way down the field.” Falcons senior Jared Douglas, who kicked the game-winning 37-yard field goal with 1:44 remaining, said, “That was inspirational. It was pretty special.”

Every fall, there are many inspirational stories like this one. When I read this story, I wondered which episode from the life of Jesus Christ would people pick as the most inspirational moment. Which one would you select?

For me, the story that came to mind was the road to Emmaus appearance. It’s one of the early resurrection appearances of Jesus after his crucifixion and the discovery of the empty tomb (Luke 24:13-32). In Luke 24:31, it says that after two men had traveled with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, “their eyes were opened.” God had kept them from recognizing Jesus until this point. His resurrection body was glorified and altered from its previous appearance. I can’t imagine anything more amazing than realizing you are staring at the risen Christ!

According to verse 32, the two men’s hearts burned within them while Jesus spoke to them on the road as he opened the Scriptures to them. What lit their hearts on fire was an understanding of Scripture.

Henry Martin, the great missionary to India, said, “Now let me burn out for God.” His heart was set on fire by the truth of Scripture. David Brainer, that young missionary to the American Indians who died in his youth said, “O that I were a flame of fire in the hand of God.” And it was John Wesley at the time of his conversion who said, “My heart was strangely warmed.”

Once we see the truth of Scripture clearly, our hearts will be set on fire. We can never have the same experience as the two men on the Emmaus Road, but we can be part of the fellowship of the burning heart. And we can be inspired from understanding the Word and how it motivates us to proclaim it. That’s what they experienced.

Discussion Questions:

1. What is the most amazing or inspirational sports story you have heard this year?
2. Which story from the life of Christ would you pick as the most inspirational?
3. What amazes you about the two men that walked with Jesus on the Emmaus Road?
4. What helps you better understand the Bible as you study it?
5. How would you explain to a friend what the two men experienced on the Emmaus Road?


Gordon Thiessen has served on staff with the Nebraska FCA since 1986 He has also founded Cross Training Publishing ( He has written Team Studies on Character and edited The Athletes Topical Bible. He is married to Terri and has four grown children.


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