The Question God Asked Steve Smith: “When Are You Going to Start Playing for Me?” (Gospel Light Minute #133)

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

He is a wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers. He played college football at the University of Utah. He was chosen by the Panthers as a third round pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. He was selected to the Pro-Bowl five times and to the All-Pro three times. He is known as one of the most productive wide receivers in the NFL. In 2005, he led the league in receiving yards, catches, and touchdowns. This same year, he was the NFL Alumni Wide Receiver of the Year, AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and the PFWA NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Having spent his whole career with the Panthers, he is the team’s all-time leader in total touchdowns, receptions, and receiving yards. He currently leads all active NFL players in all-purpose yardage.

He says of his faith, “I accepted Christ in a boiler room in Tampa Bay in 2003. I accepted Christ, but I didn’t understand the responsibility, or understand the full lifelong commitment, the true covenant between a believer, myself and—with Christ. And so I was kind of lukewarm, I was straddling the fence. I kind of looked for (it) when I needed it, but when I didn’t need it, just kind of shoved it to the side.”

With talent, pride, and a chip on his shoulder, he often got into arguments with other players and teammates. During the 2010 season, he decided to change that. After taking a long look in the mirror, he said, “I really just did not recognize the man, the young man, in the mirror. I didn’t recognize him, I didn’t see it, I didn’t like what I saw; vain, egotistical, and self centered. The world revolved around me. And, it was only important thing at that time was me. And that’s not how real life works. That’s not what it’s about. That’s not what a husband ought to think, ought to be, that’s not what a father ought to be.”

He says that’s when he was faced with a question from God. He said, “God just really broke me and asked me that question that I think everyone has in different ways. Which was, ‘You’ve played this game long enough for yourself; when are you going to start playing for Me?’ That was a question that hit home.” It was then that he decided to rededicate his life to the Lord.

He said, “You can have your bank account at Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, every big business, but on that weekend, they aren’t open. At midnight when you’re broken, that bank account isn’t going to help you. God has been in my life whether I’ve known it or not, and been looking out for me the days that He knows, He’s known. And He’s been there in the muck and the mire. For me, He’s redemptive; He’s that Father that even when your dad is striking out, He’ll hold you.”

His name is Steve Smith.

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