"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it…but even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith were the first African American coaches to lead their teams to the Super Bowl. Even before Dungy's Colts prevailed over Smith's Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI, we knew that there was a connection between these two men beyond the color of their skin. "I'm proud to be the first African American coach to win this," Dungy said during the trophy ceremony. "But again, more than anything, Lovie Smith and I are not only African-American but also Christian coaches, showing you can do it the Lord's way. We're more proud of that."
Shadrach, Meshach and Adednego (Daniel ch.3) were three men committed to living life the Lord's way and because of their unwillingness to worship anyone or anything else, they were bound and thrown into a blazing furnace. While God did save them from death, they had no guarantee of that when they were thrown into the fire. As far as they were concerned, that wasn't even the main issue. The issue was whether or not to be obedient to the Lord.
Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith have shown that you can compete in a God-honoring way and still be the best. However, I don't believe they "do it the Lord's way" because they think it will give them the best chance to win. I think they do it because they believe it's the right way to compete. These are two men who refuse to compromise their character for the sake of winning. And because of that, in my book, they were both winners long before the Super Bowl.
Today, I encourage you to compete in a God-honoring way--not in order to win a championship, but because it's the right thing to do. Your integrity will have more lasting value than any trophy you'll ever win.
1. In what ways are you tempted to compromise your integrity for the sake of winning?
2. What does it mean to compete in a God-honoring way? (Be specific)
3. Do you feel God has been honored in the way you have competed up to this point in your life? Why or why not?