There have been two stories that have caught my eye over the past couple months that have been shining examples of Winning in the eyes of God. What is interesting is that in the eyes of the world when comparing these two stories there is one clear success and one clear failure. However as Christians there is only one set of eyes we are concerned about. Jesus sacrifice for us on the cross has changed our view of everything in view of what we deserve and the grace that has been freely offered.
The first story is on a little known guy by the name of Tim Tebow. Ok, so maybe he is currently a little more famous than what I give him credit for. It has been amazing to see his story develop throughout the entire season and now into the playoffs with the Broncos recent overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. What amazes me even more is Tebow’s humble and genuine desire to give credit where credit is due – first and foremost to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and secondly to his coaches and teammates. Sounds like the two greatest commandments to me…love God, and love people. Tebow is constantly thanking the Lord for the blessing of the platform he has to let people know about the God who has clearly changed his life. He is also constantly deflecting any kind of praise to himself as he exalts his coaches and teammates for their part in his success saying things such as: “they make me look better than I am.” I have also heard him comment on several occasions about how football is great but there are so many more important things in life. Most recently in his press conference after the Steelers win he talks about the real win being the opportunity he had to encourage a little girl before the game who has gone through roughly 70 surgeries in her young life. Surely God must be pleased as he sees his servant Tim making Him look great.
Take 5 minutes to view the Tim Tebow Press Conference after the win against the Steelers.
Then there is the story of Curenski Gilleylen. Who is Curenski Gilleylen you might ask? Curenski Gilleylen is from Leander, Texas. He joined the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2007 with freakish speed and leaping ability. He played in 11 games in 2008 and was starting in 2009 as a wide receiver. Then half way through the 2009 season Gilleylen drifted to the background as other guys started getting snaps. By his junior year he was barely playing and by his senior year he was asked to move to running back behind the likes of star running back Rex Burkhead and 3 highly touted new freshman running backs.
You might be thinking: “How is this a success?” The story goes on. Before the road trip down I-80 to Laramie to play Wyoming early in the season Gilleylen showed up to the team’s Friday meetings. So what’s the big deal? Those who are not on the travel roster don’t come to the Friday meetings. So why was Gilleylen there? According to the Lincoln Journal Star he was: “Ready to go over the game plan with some of the freshman who’d be playing in a game he’d be watching on TV.” So was Gilleylen unaware he wasn’t on the travel roster? Nope. He just showed up for his teammates out of a heart to show them he was there for them no matter what. Guys literally had tears coming down their face in the chapel service before the game as they considered who on their team was an example of someone who was an unselfish servant because all they could think of was Curenski.
Running backs coach Ron Brown had this to say in the same Lincoln Journal Star article: “In a day and age where everyone points at themselves, and wants glory for themselves, and if they don’t get their carries or their stats or playing time, then they pout and get mad, there’s a guy like Curenski,” Brown said. “And Curenski’s been a shining example of what it means to be a real man.”
You know Tebow and you don’t know Gilleylen and God is pleased with both.
Take time to read The Curenski Gilleylen Story from the December 24th edition of the Lincoln Journal Star.
1. Why is God pleased with both of these athletes?
2. Why would be care what God is pleased with in a world that says to live for yourself?
3. Read Philippians 2:5-11. Discuss the character God desires us to have in our lives.
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