On Monday, Indianapolis Colts head coach and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy retired from football. Few men leave such a legacy that they are still remembered with fond affection seven years after they have left a place. But Tony Dungy is not like most men.
Neither is Bradenton resident and PGA pro Paul Azinger. This past summer, Azinger added to his resume a Ryder Cup championship as he capped a two-year process of building a competitive U.S. team. Azinger’s face and voice were everywhere. But there is a side to that face and voice that few see.
Both men share this: they take their Christian commitments seriously. They believe that what they profess to be true impacts in a defining way how they are to live their lives. They don’t live life for football or golf, not for Tony or Paul, but for Jesus.
That’s not easy for most us; it is geometrically more difficult for those in the spotlight.
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Dungy in his memoir “Quiet Strength” speaks frankly about how freely criticism dogs an NFL head coach. Azinger in his biography “Zinger” talks about how easy it is to hit a golf ball, until there are millions of people watching you take that last putt on the 18th green of a golf major. Public life can be daunting.
We make decisions in life daily (whether it involves whom to field in match play, whom to cut from a team, or when to require our daughter to be home). These decisions will always be made with insufficient information, with insufficient time, and with an ever growing audience of those willing to tell us we are making the wrong choice. Dungy and Azinger have displayed well for us what it means to put all of those voices aside and simply listen to One.
I am not a leader like these men. I don’t have the native gifts and talents in any area sufficient to draw notice and acclaim. Few do. However, as these men do their work primarily with an audience of One, so can we.
Many voices tell us to sacrifice our families, or to shade our integrity, or to violate a principle, in order to get ahead. The One voice tells us to give ourselves to our wives and children, to hold on to our integrity, and to live out the principles He gives us.
The God of grace does not expect us to possess the renown of a Dungy or an Azinger. He does expect us, however, to be so moved by the gift of grace given us in Christ that we do all things as an act of obedience to him.
Few will walk away with a Super Bowl ring or a Ryder Cup trophy. But the world around us cannot help but be changed when we choose to listen to live for the audience of One.
Rev. Randy Greenwald is senior pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church, 4455 30th St. E., Bradenton. For more information about the church www.gohope.net. His blog can be read at http://somberanddull.blogspot.com.