“Haven't I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
Ray McElroy knows a thing or two about living life courageously. He has experience walking with God and using his NFL experience as a platform for his faith. “I’ll be a pro football player the rest of my life,” he told a reporter from a central Illinois newspaper, “The platform is huge. I have the opportunity to do something with that platform.”
Even though he never reached the Pro Bowl, he still managed to last six years as a cornerback in the NFL, playing for the Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions.
Today Ray McElroy (Reverend Ray as he’s affectionately known) uses his NFL career as a platform to introduce Christ to a new generation of young people, young football players, especially. While he travels as a motivational speaker it is his non-profit ministry A Ray of Hope on Earth that grips his heart. It’s his desire to show young, inner-city Chicago kids that they matter to God; He’s with them wherever they go. Ray takes Joshua 1:9 seriously. Ray takes all of Scripture seriously; he’s an ordained minister who spent five years as the Chicago Bears chaplain.
The Rieck family first came to know Ray while he was in his last year serving as chaplain for the Chicago Bears. Ray took Andrew under his wing after Andrew experienced a devastating accident. Over the next several years Andrew grew under Ray’s mentorship. He would say again and again, “you play for an audience of One.” Courageous living means going hard after that which matters most. Nothing in this life will matter more than your first-love relationship with Jesus. Nothing.
It’s as important (and one could argue more important!) that you develop spiritual muscles in your walk of faith as it is developing your muscles and skills for physical play. It is in this spirit that we bring you this year’s Taylor Football player devotions: a Spiritual Workout for your Soul. Take Ray’s encouragement to play first and foremost for Jesus and let it permeate all your activities on and off the field.
Who do you play for?