Testimony of Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton (2)
"You've got to expect and trust in yourself to get your team to the playoffs and win a couple games and make a run at it," says Dalton, who turns 26 in October. "You have to trust in your abilities and work ethic. I put in a lot of time at this sport to be the best I can be. My expectations are to get back there [to the playoffs] and win."
Dalton's faith keeps him grounded, but so does Jordan. When Dalton left his offseason home in Fort Worth for training camp in July, Jordan gave him a box filled with about 20 Scripture-filled notes of encouragement for him to read daily until she joined him in Cincinnati.
"To have someone so wonderful and encouraging by my side, it's so helpful," he says. "It's a reminder of how I'm supposed to live, the man I'm supposed to be, the leader I'm supposed to be. The encouragement really helps me be who I am and not worry about what anyone else is saying and enjoy life."
While football will consume most of his attention for at least the next four months, he knows end zones are not where true champions are made. So he invests in others. In 2011, he established The Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation to provide rewarding experiences to seriously ill and physically challenged children in the Cincinnati and Fort Worth areas. Last March, Dalton raised about $80,000 during a fundraising dinner in Fort Worth.
"He's real down to earth and super-giving," Olson says. "You see a professional athlete and get a stigma in your mind, and he's so far on the opposite end of the spectrum it's not even funny."
For now, though, there's business to take care of in the AFC North, where the Bengals will attempt to wrest the division title from the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. The once-skinny redhead from Katy has come a long way.
"It's been a lot of fun to experience everything I've experienced," Dalton says. "Not very many people get a chance to play in the NFL. To start-and start as a rookie-I feel so blessed. So many things had to fall right to be where I am. I thank God every day."
Bringing It Home Devotional: Humble Servant
Given his position as an NFL quarterback, nobody would fault Andy Dalton for having a little swagger. He is, after all, one of only 32 people in the entire world who can claim to be a current starting quarterback in the league. Consider his accomplishments over his first two seasons-including back-to-back playoff appearances and a Pro Bowl selection-and the Cincinnati Bengals signal caller is in a very select group.
It's refreshing then to hear Dalton's closest friends describe him as anything but pompous. Dalton himself shared two Bible verses that serve as great examples of his self-image: "...For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest" (Luke 9:48 [NIV]) and"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time"(1 Peter 5:6 [NIV]).
How appropriate those verses are for a man whose win totals are lauded while his statistics are scrutinized. Instead of listening to the hype and criticism, Dalton makes it his mission to serve his teammates in Christ-like humility and to do his job the best way he can.
We, too, are called to fill the role of humble servant in our own lives. By doing so, we reveal the saving message of Christ to those with whom we come in contact.
And what is that message?
Our original ancestors, Adam and Eve, sinned in the Garden of Eden and introduced a curse upon all of mankind that left us seeking and searching for meaning, purpose and power. But God called us to something different. He called us to humility and service, and He sent the perfect example in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus, fully God and fully man, chose to bear the weight of our sins and all those before us and all those still to come. He humbled Himself and died in the most humiliating of ways upon the cross. His sacrificial death and resurrection on the third day was the price necessary to be paid for the salvation of all mankind. All we have to do is accept that free offering of grace, forgiveness and eternal life by placing our faith in Christ.
Want to accept Christ in your life or just simply share Him with others? Find a way to serve and care for others. Whether or not you're an NFL quarterback, being a servant for Christ is something all of His followers are called to do.
Have questions about accepting Christ into your heart, beginning a relationship with Him, or what it means to be saved? Call FCA's National Support Center at (800) 289-0909 or visitwww.morethanwinning.org.
Originally Published: September 2013
Photos courtesy of Cincinnati Bengals
About the Author
Joshua Cooley, who has written for FCA since 2006, is the children's ministry director at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Md., and a former sports editor at various newspapers in Maryland. Besides his many magazine freelance credits, he has authored several books. His Heroes of the Bible Devotional is scheduled to be published by Tyndale in spring 2014. He also co-authored The One Year Sports Devotions for Kids (Tyndale, 2011) and Playing With Purpose: Inside the Lives and Faith of the Major Leagues' Top Players (Barbour Publishing, 2012).