Julius Peppers was the 2nd overall pick in 2002 by the Carolina Panthers. After a strong start to his career in Carolina, he left in free agency to join the Chicago Bears in 2010, and then spent 2014 to 2016 in Green Bay.

This season, Peppers returned to the Carolina Panthers (one of the greatest players to ever put on the team’s uniform), where he has played a key role in their 6-3 record.

The 37-year-old defensive end has had a Hall of Fame-caliber career, including nine Pro Bowl appearances, and continues to move his way up in the record books.

As athletic and dominant as he’s always been, he’s never been a big personality or a charismatic superstar like Ray Lewis or JJ Watt. Peppers told Sports Illustrated, “I get bashful in the spotlight.”

You will not find Peppers in TV commercials or doing interviews on multiple sports shows. On the contrary, he’s chosen to remain quiet and unassuming. Although fans and the media expect the best players to draw attention to themselves, Peppers hasn’t played the role of an outspoken NFL leader.

Now that he’s at the end of his career, people are finally appreciating him for who he is and what he’s accomplished. Although he’s been more guarded than other players, it hasn’t taken away from the impact he’s had on the field and the influence he’s had on his teammates.

It’s refreshing to see a player like Peppers have such an incredible career without “tooting his own horn” or letting everyone know how great he is. Instead, he’s consistently played at an elite level year after year, always getting the job done, but flying under the radar.

Guys like Peppers are few and far between in both sports and life. More often than not, we’re concerned about pumping ourselves up, making sure others know how exceptional we are, building our brand, and drawing attention to everything we’re doing.

Even when we give away money or serve others, we want to make sure we get the proper credit and recognition for what we’ve done. We seek the spotlight and want to be known for our effort and success.

However, as we pursue humility and follow Jesus, we’re called to bring glory to God – not ourselves. When we serve or give, we must consider our motives…quietly doing both.

The Bible says in Matthew 6:2-4 (NLT), “When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.

“But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”

Today, let’s work hard, serve passionately and give generously. Let’s humbly follow Jesus without seeking attention or recognition. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please give me the strength to fight against the desires I have for attention, recognition, and credit. Help me to always be your servant – even when nobody is watching. Please show me the ways I need to humbly follow you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.