YOUR ULTIMATE CHOICE Articles
Rosevelt ColvinSometimes you're so close to an answer, but can't see it.
Sometimes you're so close to an answer, but can't see it-and then it clicks and falls into place. That happened for me with football-and it happened for me with my faith.
Being an NFL football player was never my dream. Actually, my dream was broader than that. I wanted to be successful in whatever I did so I could provide for my family. Those are the values I had been taught. I had such positive role models. My father and mother were and still are teachers. My father is a deacon in the church and my mother was the choir director. My grandfather was also a pastor. With those people and many more as role models, I learned important life lessons early on. And all I wanted was to maintain humility, and be someone my family could be proud of. It could have been as a teacher in a classroom, or using my industrial technology degree. It could have been at almost anything. As it turned out, the NFL is the place that provides for my family, and allows me the opportunity to be successful.
Football didn't necessarily come easily for me. I had the size and the athletic ability, but had difficulty grasping the intricacies of playing linebacker. I always seemed to be a couple steps out of place, or a half-second behind. I was so close-but I just didn't grasp it. Gradually, through repetition and hard work, it started to click, and my NFL career blossomed, highlighted by playing for the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
In some ways, that's the same thing that happened with my faith. I was raised going to church and I sang in the church choir till I was a senior in high school. I stood out, not only because I sang solos, but because, at 6'3", I was so much bigger than anyone else in the choir. But I didn't quite get it. I didn't quite understand what Christianity really was. When I went to college I drifted away, and when I was drafted and played on Sundays, it was easy to drift even further away.
I had been drafted by the Chicago Bears, and my older sister lived on the south side of Chicago. She would invite me to come to church with her, but I would generally find a reason why I couldn't. One day, one of my sister's friends got on the phone with me and asked me a pointed question. She asked me if I was saved. To myself i said, "I'm not sure what you're talking about." She then asked me if I had ever prayed the sinner's prayer, based on Romans 10:9 which says: "...if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved." That day I prayed the prayer, but didn't really understand it until sometime later.
My sister continued to invite me to attend her church, but encouraged me to get there early or I'd have to stand in line to get a seat. I told her if I wanted to stand in line to get a seat, it wouldn't be to go to church! I simply didn't understand. Then my girlfriend Tiffany-who is now my wife-suggested we try going to my sister's church. But since I knew that the services came on tv on Wednesdays, I opted to try that first. Finally, I decided to go with Tiffany to a service, and we've never been the same. Since that time, as I've heard the truth preached, studied the Bible and grown in my faith, I've realized that there were so many things I didn't understand. I was so close, but I didn't fully grasp it.
One day, our pastor preached a sermon on the importance of knowing your new birthday. He was referring to the day you pray and ask Jesus into your life-the day you are born spiritually. I couldn't really remember the exact date so I prayed again-and this time I made sure I didn't forget. In fact, I had dog tags made to celebrate the day-October 13, 2002.
My life is not perfect. I still find myself doing or thinking things that aren't consistent with my faith. But over the last few years, there has been a gradual change. That's what life is about-conforming more and more to the image of Christ-how God wants you to be. all I wanted was to be a successful young man my family could be proud of. But I have even more than that-I have a relationship with Jesus Christ.