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Jesus and the Heisman Trophy

My wife and I are Baylor Bears. ('75) My youngest daughter, her husband, and my oldest daughter's husband are Bears. (My oldest daughter is an Aggie, of whom we are equally proud.) The buzz in Baylor world--as you know unless you have been hiking in the Himalayas the last three months--is that the Baylor quarterback, Robert Griffin III was chosen as the 77th Heisman Trophy winner.You can only imagine how excited we are as a family and alumni of BU.

A small, private Baptist school in Central Texas usually lives under the shadow of schools like the University of Texas and seldom gets any national recognition. Waco is mostly known nationally for the Branch Davidian debacle, and most sports commentators can't pronounce the school's name like we do. Oh well, they are learning now.

I am pleased RG III received the most votes for the coveted trophy, not because I want to be associated with it and him, but because he and his family clearly give God credit for his success and notoriety. I believe men like Griffin often find themselves on the nation's stage because they trust God and will use that platform to speak boldly for the One who got them there. (That's why I liked Kurt Warner winning the Super Bowl, and Tim Tebow, "God's Quarterback," defying the sport's world pundits about him as a player.)

RG III is the kind of guy we like to be our hero. He is exceptional at what he does. He is a leader among men. He brings honor to those who are connected to him. He is humble and smart. What else could you ask in someone who represents your school?

The irony of all this is that our true hero, Jesus, never got this kind of recognition while he lived on earth. When you read through Luke's account of Jesus' birth, for example, you see the contrast between Caesar, the ruler, writing edicts and living in a palace in Rome while Jesus is born in a barn to tax-paying parents who didn't have enough clout to get a room for the night. You also read his first admirers were shepherds--Texas cowboys--who happened to be on the night shift that evening and would not have known about one more Jewish boy's birth had it not been for the angels who tipped them off. I wonder if Jesus would have even lettered in football at Nazareth High School if there was such a thing.

My point? We look for saviors like R G III (though he does not in any way claim to be one, and I am so pleased a man like him represents the school), but our true Savior looks nothing like him. That's the mystery and message of Christmas. I still have not fully comprehended it, but I know that's how it happened, and that truth tells me Jesus is the Savior for all of matter if our alma mater's quarterback gets the Heisman or not.

I opened my message yesterday commenting on RG III, the Heisman, and the Christmas story. If you are interested, you can hear it here.