The following devotion is an excerpt from THE ONE YEAR CHRISTIAN HISTORY, by E. Michael & Sharon Rusten. Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.
I thought this would be an appropriate devotion for Super Bowl week.
Kurt Warner grew up in a poor, broken home in rural Iowa. His “salvation” was sports – a natural talent and intense desire to be the best brought him success, popularity, and happiness in high school. Committing his life to athletics, his life’s goal was to play football in the National Football League (NFL).
In college at Northern Iowa, he didn’t become a starting quarterback on the football team until his senior year. Sitting on the bench during those years was incredibly difficult for a young man whose drive was to be the best. While at Northern Iowa he met Brenda, who was a Christian. As their relationship became more serious, she often pressed him regarding his beliefs about God.
Although he admired Brenda’s faith, he was not yet ready to give his own life to Christ. Although Kurt held on to his dream of playing in the NFL, at times it seemed quite unrealistic. After college when he tried out for the Green Bay Packers, he was released at the end of training camp. After working in a grocery store to make ends meet, he finally found a job in the Arena Football League, playing for the Iowa Barnstormers. Although this was an unlikely pathway to the NFL, Kurt kept his dream.
Kurt’s heart began to turn toward the Lord during his first season with the Barnstormers. His life was more settled, and he was more receptive to discussing spiritual matters with Brenda. He also became friends with Christian teammates and began regularly attending their Bible study. His interest in having a personal relationship with God grew.
“There was no single, magic moment where I shed my skin and emerged anew. Instead, it was a gradual feeling that probably evolved over the course of about ten months. I finally reached the point where I knew what I needed to do. I probably asked Jesus into my heart three or four times because I didn’t really know when my official salvation would occur. It’s like I wasn’t sure which one was going to take. I’d pray and ask God to forgive me for all the times and ways I’d messed up in my life. I’d tell him I wanted him to come into my heart, and I’d promise to live for Him.”
It was during this time that Brenda’s parents were tragically killed in an Arkansas tornado the night they were to have been baptized. Not until this tragedy did Kurt realize what had taken place in his own heart and life. During this difficult time, Kurt found a new sense of peace and was able to support Brenda spiritually. This role reversal was a new experience for the couple and brought them closer to God and to each other.
Over the next few years, Kurt’s dreams began to materialize. He married Brenda in 1997, and his success in the Arena Football League led to one season with NFL Europe and then finally back to the NFL in 1998 with the St. Louis Rams. He was determined not to let the outcome of the Packers training camp years before be repeated!
His hard work, patience, and determination paid off. He started training camp in 1998, fighting for the third-string quarterback position, and by the 1999 season, he had become the Rams’ starting quarterback. It was a fairy-tale season – an underdog team rising to the top with a quarterback no one had ever heard of.
On January 30, 2000, Kurt Warner’s lifelong dream came true. His team, the St. Louis Rams, won the Super Bowl, defeating the Tennessee Titans 23-16. Not only that, but Kurt also passed for a recorded 414 yards and was named Most Valuable Player of the game!
Kurt Warner discovered that he didn’t really become a winner until he figured out God’s rules of the game.
Kurt Warner discovered that once he had committed his life to Jesus Christ, all things were possible. That doesn’t mean that every Christian is going to be the world champion in his or her specialty, but it does mean that once we have sincerely given our allegiance to Jesus, there are no limits on how he may choose to use us.
With God, everything is possible (Matthew 19:26).
When this devotion was written Kurt Warner was still playing in the NFL. Since then Kurt Warner went on to complete a stellar 12-year career in the NFL. He went on to play in two more Super Bowls (one more with the Rams and one with the Arizona Cardinals). He was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017. He was an outspoken believer in Jesus, often giving thanks to the Lord during television interviews.
Whether we live our lives on the world’s biggest stage, like Kurt Warner, or we live a humble life without any fanfare or fame, God calls us to do our best in all we do. We may not have the opportunity to share our faith with thousands like Kurt Warner, but there are family members, coworkers, neighbors, and friends all around us who need to hear the message of salvation. God has called you to be His spokesperson to the people in your life.
Your servant in Christ,