The Athlete with a Higher Calling

Athletes have a purpose. Their ultimate goal is to succeed. Win the game. And, in some sports, they have to succeed with others. A team working together to meet a common goal…winning.

For professional athletes, their experience is part job, part game, part entertainer. Fundamentally, though, it’s the same game as it was when they started playing in youth baseball, or basketball, or football.

The Athlete with a Higher Calling

The calling of an athlete is to be successful. That’s been stated. But, the athlete who takes opportunity of the relationships he has with those around him, with those who come to watch, and with those who thinks he’s the greatest player since whoever has a higher calling. That athlete can even take advantage of the relationship he has with those who aren’t his…fans.

He can influence. So much so, that shoe and apparel companies, and equipment companies, too, will pay an influential athlete a lot of money to use their product. A lot of money!

What about the Athlete Who is a Christian?

We talk a lot about using our platform to share the gospel. That platform may be whatever we’re into – sports, work, hobbies, music, work – and it allows us to build relationships with people who may not be believers.

It also calls us to live the example. We have to “walk the walk”.

Professional sports is a platform. There is tremendous focus on professional athletes, especially those who perform well in their particular sport. With that in mind, here are four athletes who are known for their faith in Jesus Christ, and who use their platform to let everyone know that they are believers first, athletes second.

Tim Tebow

What strikes me most about this young man is his optimism in life and his eagerness to talk about his faith in Christ. He is one of those guys that just exudes joy.

A Father’s Example Guides Tim Tebow

The Tim Tebow Foundation

Here’s the famous Tebow commercial:

Josh Hamilton

This guy is having an incredible year in the MLB. Yet, his personal struggles in the past are well-documented. These are struggles that caused him to miss significant playing time.

What if he hadn’t missed that time? His stats as a ballplayer would be incredible. Yet, God has a purpose in our struggles, and Hamilton is quick to talk about that.

Here’s the I Am Second video.

Here’s where he gives his testimony.

Albert Pujols

Nobody wants to pitch to Albert Pujols, especially when there are runners on base. He has the potential to change a game. Even more, though, Albert is quick to let people know that he has a higher calling.

You can read Albert’s testimony and learn about the influence he has at The Pujols Family Foundation.

Here’s a link to his book, Pujols: More Than a Game.

He gives his testimony in this video.

R.A. Dickey

I heard Dickey speak in February and was extremely impressed with him as a ballplayer, a speaker, but, more so, as an athlete who has been brutally authentic about his journey of faith.

If you haven’t read his book Wherever I Wind Up, get it and read it. It’s an encouragement to believers and a testimony of God’s will in the life of a believer.

Here’s the story on Dickey by ESPN’s E:60.

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