Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal
RESPECT FOR REGGIE
God has blessed the world with some wonderful and amazing people.
Apart from numerous Biblical figures, some of these that would qualify for the “wonderful and amazing” category (in my estimation) would be: Harriet Tubman, Oskar Schindler, Mohandas Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, and Evangelist Billy Graham.
I’ve indicated those named above because of their wonderful and amazing capacity to love and care for people. John Maxwell has correctly stated that, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” The small list of people I’ve mentioned, exercised before the world, openly and without abandon or reservation, the wonderful and amazing capacity to care for people more than anything else, in their own unique, wonderful and amazing way.
On Sunday, December 26, 2004, a man whom I could easily insert into the “wonderful and amazing” category, passed from this temporary, vapor of life (James 4:14), through the gates of the glorious city of New Jerusalem (Revelation 21); and now (I’ve no doubt whatsoever) eternally resides in one of the many mansions (John 14:2) within the hallowed halls of Heaven.
Reggie White was, and yet remains a hero of mine. Not only because of his awesome accomplishments on the fields of the United States Football League (USFL) and the National Football League (NFL) during his 14-year career with the Memphis Showboats (1984), Philadelphia Eagles (1985-1992), Green Bay Packers (1993-1998), and Carolina Panthers (2000); but for the personality of the Christian he exhibited and lived throughout his public and private life.
Reggie was a “giant” of a football player – he stood 6’5” and weighed 300lbs. However, this 12 consecutive year, all-pro (professional) defensive end possessed a speed, ability, and agility not normally associated with a person his size, but able to let both an offensive lineman and a quarterback (all 73 of them whom he sacked/tackled) know that when the ball was snapped, blinking could be hazardous to your health and a second is not a very long unit of time during any offensive football down/play.
Reggie was also a “giant” of a child of God! Though he was known during his NFL career as the “Minister of Defense” and one of the “Rambos of Lambeau,” his numerous NFL records (1985 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, 1987-1998 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Superbowl Sack Record – to name a few) and exploits on the football field were powerfully and noticeably overshadowed by his Christ-like character, compassion, generosity, humility; and his open and unashamed visual and vocal representation as an ambassador for the Savior of the world (2 Corinthians 5:20).
I can’t tell you all of the great things he did for people and communities (opened a home for unwed mothers, started a community bank to help the impoverished, and worked tirelessly helping at-risk youth – to name a few) and how he concentrated wholeheartedly on helping the destitute and underprivileged. He gave of himself freely and unselfishly, both physically and materially, to numerous people and situations without fanfare and/or use of the platform connected to his superstar football player status.
Reggie also preached (ordained as a Christian minister at the age of 17) and taught the principles and requirements of living the life God designed and intends for all, with irrefutable passion and sincerity. In his book, “God’s Playbook,” he teaches precepts God established in the Bible in an easily understood and highly convicting manner. In his autobiography, “In The Trenches,” the life story he tells is interspersed with strong examples for living and breathing the Christian life. Throughout his five authored works (that I know of) and a movie he produced, he teaches emphatically on accountability, character, communication, encouragement, faith, family, loving God and people, and a host of other areas that can only benefit one’s life; from a standpoint of an individual who lives what he conveys.
To conclude my tribute of Respect for Reggie, I’d like to relate a condensed version of an account he tells in his book, “Minister of Defense.” In a chapter titled, “Here Comes Jesus,” Reggie tells of an encounter he had as Philadelphia Eagle, with a Detroit Lions player in a scrimmage game. During the contest, the player repeatedly used profanity towards Reggie because he was frustrated due to his inability to block the man who is now known as one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. Reggie, though admittedly angered by the profanity directed toward him, responded to each verbal onslaught by telling the player, “Jesus is coming back soon, and I hope you’re ready.” On a later play as Reggie lined up against this player, he locked eyes with him and said, “Jesus is coming back soon, and I don’t think you’re ready.” When the ball was snapped, Reggie confidently declared to his opponent, “Here Comes Jesus!” Then, quick as a cat, Reggie thrust off of the line throwing his entire body weight into the offensive player, drove him back five yards to the ground and sacked his team’s quarterback. Reggie’s coach and teammates enjoyed that play so much that from then on they would ask him if Jesus was coming back on the next play.
Reggie White’s wonderful and amazing life went from earthly labor to eternal reward on the last Sunday of December 2004, at the age of 43. Jesus is coming back soon and if Reggie had not passed on, I’ve no doubt he would’ve been ready.
Reggie, if you’re reading this from above, I want you to know that I appreciate you, your life, and all you accomplished, represented and stood for. Also, I’m ready for Jesus’ return, and when I meet you in Heaven, I want to talk with you…just please don’t tackle me.
Copyright © Paul Schneidmill