One of my favorite times of the year just came to an end. I love college football. There is a passion around the game that can’t be imitated in any other sport. The love for one’s team runs deep. In the South, we clothe our newborns at the hospital in our team’s colors. Our wardrobe is usually dominated by the colors of our team. We form friendships based solely on collegiate affiliation. Football unites (and divides) like nothing else can.
Monday night, the Clemson Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide for the National Championship. Winning the championship is a great feat in and of itself. Let’s be honest, though, Alabama was a huge favorite. Alabama year in and year out fields one of the best teams in the nation. They are led by a coach who simply knows how to win, and demands excellence of his players. Being an Ole Miss fan myself, I can tell you that beating Alabama is a crown in your season. That is truly a rarity.
The reporter runs to grab Coach Swinney’s first thoughts after slaying Goliath. What is his response? Did he spike the football? Did he call out all those who doubted his team could win? (Most of the country outside of South Carolina). Did he brag about his ability to out think one of college football’s greatest masterminds ever? No.
“It’s indescribable. I mean, you can’t make it up, man. I mean, this is … only God can do this – take a guy like me from Pelham, go down to Alabama, win a national championship, come to Clemson and then have a chance to win a national championship against the best team in the country up until the last second of this game. And to see my guys fight, just believe. I told them tonight, I told them that the difference in the game was going to be love. It’s been my word. My word all year’s been love. And I said, ‘Tonight we’re going to win it because we love each other. We going to love each other. I don’t know how we’re going to win it.’”
I have followed Coach Swinney for several years. I appreciate his vocal belief in Christianity. He is a fallible man and relies on an infallible God for His Guidance. At his finest moment, when he could have touted himself, he turned national media toward God. He called to mind the words of his Savior:
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)
What would the church look like if we truly gave God his due? What if, instead of trying to climb the ladder at work, trying to get on a certain committee at church, or attain some goal that we think will make us happy, we truly honored Him first in all things?
I am guilty in my own life of not giving Him my first fruits more often than not. Even our abilities in our careers are a gift from God. Literally everything God’s first before it was ours. (Deuteronomy 10:14)
This world, with all its warts, would do better if we adopted the Dabo approach. Instead of touting ourselves, our wants, and our needs, to give praise to God first. What more could we accomplish if we approached God as He truly is? What if we showed thanks in the small things and the large?
Maybe then, we could truly see how much God has given us.