I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. — 2 Timothy 4:1-2
In a sign of the growing boldness of Christian athletes, golfer Bubba Watson credit Jesus Christ after he won the 2012 Masters Tournament on Resurrection Sunday. As he put on the Green Jacket given each year to the winner and made his victory speech, he proclaimed his faith for the crowd and the national TV audience thanking “my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
As we have covered with Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin, more Christian professional athletes are stepping out to the media to boldly proclaim their love for Jesus Christ and their faith in Him. While many athletes in the past have been Christians, the past several years has seen surge in hostility and anti-Christian bias in society. And a new generation of athletes are rising up to live their faith out on the public stage and make it clear that being a Christian is their most important priority in life. Watson, who recently adopted a son, leads Bible studies on the PGA tour and has a medical center in Kenya to give aid to those in need.
In a post-game news conference, Watson discussed the importance of winning on Resurrection Sunday:
Reporter:You talked about it being a special day, not just because of winning the Masters, but because it’s Easter?
Watson: Yeah, this is the day Jesus is risen. Good Friday was when He was crucified on the cross, and today is Easter where we celebrate He’s risen. For us, that’s salvation to go to Heaven. He took all of our sins from us. So for me, it’s just a dream come true.
What an awesome way to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and give Jesus glory. Watson, who describes himself on Twitter as: “@bubbawatson: Christian. Husband. Daddy. Pro Golfer. Owner of General Lee 1.” tweeted more of his praise after the win:
“1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” Watson tweeted. “To God be the Glory! #Masters.”
As Christians, we are not commanded to be shy about our faith. Many Christians have been caught in the world’s thinking and when it comes to sharing their faith think “I don’t want to impose my beliefs on anyone.” Well when critics of Christianity say “Christians should not talk about Jesus so much” they are trying to impose their beliefs on Christians. But it is what God says that matters. Jesus said made the Christian attitude clear:
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” — Matthew 5:14-16
Christians should let their faith shine before the public and not be shy. We are to bring the light of the Gospel to the darkness of the world. And as more celebrities and athletes become brazen in promoting sin, rebellion and godlessness, it is great to see Christian athletes responding with faith and love. “For me, it’s just showing the Light,” said Watson. “There’s people who want to put down Christians. I try to tell them Jesus loves you. It’s just a way to be strong in my faith,” (source).
Jesus commanded His followers to preach His Gospel to the nations. Pray for athletes like Watson to stay strong in their faith. And pray for Christians to follow this example and share the message of forgiveness of sins and eternal life that comes when you believe in Jesus Christ. That is the ultimate victory.