>I am what I am

>Kyle and I finally watched The Expresshttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=simpllivin-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B001LGXIA6&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr last night. I love sports movies. They have the same awesome predictability of romantic comedies (insert “chick flicks”), but with a tie into the sports world which means that guys will watch them without complaint. Without going into an entire review of the movie, which was great mind you, the basic plot is the story of Ernie Davis. If you are unfamiliar with his story… **1. this is a spoiler alert for the movie 2. really sad in an incredibly uplifting kind of way** Ernie Davis was a boy who grew up in the heat of segregation, was recruited to Syracuse University, helped lead them to their first national championship, and was the first black man to win the Heisman Trophy. He was drafted by the Browns but never played a single game because he was diagnosed with Leukemia and died at the age of 23.

At the beginning of the movie, there is a scene at the dinner table where Ernie’s grandfather (affectionately called Pops) has Ernie (with a stutter) read from the Bible. The verse read is 1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”

The way that this single piece of scripture was played out in this young mans life caused me to stop and look at the way I live my own life. “by the grace of God I am what I am…”

For a long time, I wondered why God made me “strong willed” (this can also be read as stubborn, bull headed, and occasionally showed itself as defiant). I allowed myself to get emotionally involved in menial issues, worked into a tizzy, only to find that I was the one hurt or in trouble in the end. I wondered why I couldn’t just keep my mouth shut and what good I could possibly do when I couldn’t even control my own actions, let alone the words that came out of my mouth. I tried to skirt responsibility, but it always came back to bite me in the end.

I still wonder at times about why God made me “what I am.” I don’t know if that will ever go away, but I don’t try to run from it anymore. Ernie Davis provided hope for people that were chastised and rejected. He showed them that no one could take away that which God had given him in the first place. And he did it with respect and honor for those around him.

The last line in the movie is, “Thing is, I don’t know how much more is in front of me, and as you see from the number of pages if you’ve read this far, I did have a few things to say and I’m not sure how to end this, or even if I want to. It’s funny. Most people think my life has been all about football. I’ve even thought that myself. But football is just a game. What matters is what you play for. Sometimes when the game is close and everything is on the line, that’s when you forget the crowd and the noise. That’s when it’s just you against somebody else to see who is the better man. That’s what I like about the game. Because at that moment, you are friends and you are enemies and you are brothers.” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0469903/quotes?qt1149240)

What are we playing for? We have been created uniquely and perfectly by the grace of God. He has a plan for each and every one of us, but what are we doing to live it out? You may not know what you have been created for. I am sure that Ernie Davis had no idea that he was going to be an inspiration decades after his death at 23, before he even had the opportunity to play pro ball. I don’t know what my impact will be, but I do know that if I live each and every day with my heart set on serving God with the best of my abilities, that He will honor that. God sees the big picture where I see just a strand. We don’t know how our lives will intertwine with others but maybe, just maybe, if we focus on God rather than what we see as our shortcomings, those things which we thought of as burdens or “mistakes” will become that which glorifies God the most.

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