Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think and Act 1.21.15 – If Johnny Manziel Went to Your Church

johnny-manziel-money-sign-shirtJohnny Manziel is a caricature in many senses of the word. So the T-Shirt pic is appropriate.

But “caricature” in the sense that he embodies the word points away from a positive meaning. Instead, Manziel, loaded with both talent and money makes a great lightning rod for football and culture. My goal in this post moves away from football and culture and instead asks: what if Johnny Manziel went to your church? Let me suggest a few thinking points:

1. How would you talk about him attending?

Would it be a novelty to have a famous guy in your church? Would you try to recruit him for the fantasy football league? Would you take a selfie with him in the hallway after service?

Or, would you talk about the opportunity your leaders and men would have to bring godly influence into his life?

2. Do realistic cultural trends influence your thinking about people?

In case you haven’t paid attention, the NFL has had more than one bout with an immature player. The Browns had several, and you wouldn’t have to look too far on other rosters to hear tales of rookies or younger players partying (Leveon Bell and Legarrette Blount anyone?) and jeopardizing their professional opportunity.

Has the bell of your thinking rung to the tune that 21 year-olds aren’t really 21 year-olds anymore? Many young men linger in a blurry delayed adolescence. I’d guess the average maturity of a 21-year old is off by several years, rarely higher. Many college professors and work force professionals could attest to this unfortunate dynamic of delayed maturity.

Knowing this, Manziel’s shortcomings would fit very well with many young people churches labor to point to maturity.

3. Would eternal realities REALLY matter? 

Far above wins, losses, talk of a wasted draft pick, or the Cincinnati debacle, consider the following. If Manziel attended your church for several weeks would you be able to filter past the jersey, the arm, and the athletic ability and care for his soul?

Would the fact that he needs Jesus in order to get to heaven (just like anyone else) really sink in? Would you take interest to help him see the fruit of his immaturity merely reveals much deeper roots?

This, I fear, happens when the idol of athletics lures our hearts away from the worship of God. It’s something I and other sports fans should continually check.

Think. How much does the personhood of athletes affect your thinking, or prayers?

Act. Many people work with athletes, working to confront and help them with spiritual truth. Pray for athletes, chaplains, and coaches who have a great opportunity to lead young men to mature adulthood – both professionally and spiritually. Another great action point could include getting involved in a mentoring opportunity or sports team for young people right where you live.

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