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russell wilson is a better christian than i am.
you read that and thought one of two things:
1) no he’s not. it’s not a competition.
2) of course he is. you’re a horrible person. have you met you?
in all seriousness, i see a dude like russell wilson and realize that he’s a guy that simply gets it. he understands what this whole christianity thing is about and he lives it to the best of his ability. this week i read a story about blue tuesday where he goes around seeing kids at a seattle hospital. he’s even invited other seattle celebrities like macklemore (yes, the dude who did same love and thrift shop) to join him. i saw a video of him and a few teammates and coaches being interviewed by pastor/author mark driscoll. where most christian celebrities would give canned answers, wilson and his teammates were quoting scripture and giving real, honest answers.
the dude loves jesus and he doesn’t hide it.
i’d like to think that, if the roles were reversed and i were in his shoes, i would do those same things. i would like to think i’d visit the kids, or be honest in interviews, or reach out to other people of influence to try to make my town better.
while i’d like to think i’d do those things, i can almost guarantee you that i wouldn’t have done what he did while in college.
the day was march 25, 2009. wilson was a 20-year-old sophomore at nc state. a few months earlier he’d made history on the football field becoming the first (redshirt) freshman to be named first-team all acc quarterback. on this day, however, he didn’t have pads on. instead, he was the starting second baseman for state’s baseball team.
it’s well-known that wilson was a two sport athlete. he got drafted in baseball out of high school and after his junior year in college. his sophomore year was less than spectacular. he played in 27 games, starting 22 of them. he batted .236 with no home runs and only ten runs batted in.
this story has nothing to do with how he played between the lines.
on march 25, 2009, nc state hosted liberty university for a mid-week game in raleigh. these mid-week games are where the bigger schools (nc state) are supposed to beat the smaller school (liberty) while playing some of their reserves and going through the motions. wilson started that game, played 2.5 innings, and then sat the rest of the game as liberty ran away with a 17-5 win.
needless to say, things didn’t go as planned for nc state.
liberty is a christian college in virginia. one of their post-game traditions is to invite the opposing team to gather around after the game to say a quick prayer. they do this regardless of if they win or lose.
on that day, after being embarrassed by this loss, nc state’s coach decided that his team wasn’t going to join liberty around home plate for that prayer.
russell wilson decided that his faith was more important than what happened on the baseball field and joined the liberty players.
if the story stopped there, wilson would already be someone to look up to for standing up for his faith.
but there’s more.
after the prayer was over, wilson and a few of his teammates shook hands with some of the liberty players and then went back to the nc state locker room. when they got there, what happened was surprising. the way the story goes is that nc state’s coach began to unleash all of his frustrations on wilson. the way the story was told to me is that the coach gave wilson hell for staying after the game and praying with the liberty players.
that’s when wilson stood up and, in front of his entire team and all of the coaches, claimed the no one would tell him where and when he was allowed to pray.
i don’t know about you, but i don’t think i would’ve had the guts to do that. i probably would’ve taken the yelling, said nothing, and moved on. instead, russell wilson set an example for his teammates and for all of us who claim to be christians:
we don’t have to flaunt our faith, but we must stand up for it.
we don’t have to bring attention to ourselves, but we must be set apart.
we don’t have to be super christians, but we must pray.
this week, how can you follow in the footsteps of russell wilson? what can you do to be set apart? is there someone that needs you to stand up and say, “yeah, i’ll pray with you.” is there a step that you need to take that’s out of your comfort zone but is where you know you need to be?
here’s the catch: that thing that you’re supposed to do may never be known. the story i’m telling you today happened nearly five years ago and has likely never been told publicly. the only reason i’m able to tell it to you is because i had friends on that liberty team who were there and experienced it. chances are whatever you do will go unnoticed by the people around you.
and that’s okay.
we don’t do it for them.
say your prayers and take your vitamins.
have a nice day.