On and Off The Field

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Russell Wilson is a  winner on and off the field. The faith and football of Russell Wilson are co-joined, co-mingled, and coterminous. He  wears his faith on his sleeve.

On the field, he’s on his way to the Super Bowl.  On the field, Russell Wilson had a phenomenal sophomore season with the Seattle Seahawks (“Go Hawks!”).  On the field, he’s thrown 26 TD passes against only 8 interceptions –  not so shabby – and was rated the sixth best quarterback out of the field of 12 in the 2014 playoffs.   

Incredible as his play on the field has been, he has performed even better off the field.  Since joining the Seahawks, Russell Wilson has demonstrated care and concern, affection and devotion, association and participation in the lives and families of ailing patients at the Seattle Children’s Hospital. 

Off the field, over the past two years, Russell Wilson and his wife Ashton have faithfully visited the cancer ward every Tuesday. And when he can’t come, he calls.  “Eve Kopp thought the phone call was a prank. Russell Wilson? Who was that? He calmly explained that he was one of the new draft picks by the Seahawks on that late summer afternoon in 2012. He wanted to become a part of the fabric of the city and wanted to get involved with a cause immediately and thought Seattle Children’s Hospital would be a great place to start. He loved kids, liked making people smile, laugh.

Kopp put him through the vetting process.  “At first we were dubious,” said Kopp, the director of corporate annual giving for the hospital’s foundation. “We thought, ‘Is this guy going to really come every week?’ No way. We’ve never had that experience before.”[1]

They wondered if there were other motives behind the request. The hospital had dealt with the city’s athletes before. Some would say they would come regularly, show up once or twice and then never again. Others would be ushered in for photo ops in common areas with non-serious patients and then out the door they went.

Everyone kept waiting for the Tuesday when he wouldn’t show up. That never happened. And even more stunning: Wilson kept asking for more. See more kids. Visit more rooms. See the toughest and hardest cases in the hospital.

Off the field, Wilson’s faith is an important part of his life. He’s refers to his faith in post-game interviews and he posts daily Bible verses on his Twitter feed. One of His latest: “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 NKJV)

On and off the field, Wilson says faith in God is the foundation for his life and family – brother Harrison Wilson IV, sister Anna, and mother Tammy. Wilson told a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter about how faith helped him deal with the death of his father, Harrison Wilson III in 2010, who had been suffering from diabetes and several strokes.

God is concerned about our lives on and off “the field.”  Many Christians can walk the walk and talk the talk in church or “on the field” so to speak, but “off the field” –  on the job, at home, and away from the rest of “the saints,” their lives are a shabby mess.  But perhaps I have it turned around? Perhaps “the field” Christians should be playing on IS outside of the four walls of the sanctuary, where our faith is tested, where our beliefs are tried, and where our foundation must stand sure.

Take it from Russell Wilson. Let’s glorify God with our walk and our words on and off the field.  

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