UNPACK this

Shutting Down the Star Power

Published on July 6, 2017 | By
Patrick Peterson is one of the best defensive players in the NFL, and has made the Pro Bowl each of his first six seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.  As a top cornerback, he’s done a tremendous job of limiting the other team’s best wide receiver from having big games against him. But in the process of shutting receivers down, something else has taken place too. 

Dan Bickley writes on azcentral.com, “But here’s the rub: As he’s mastered the art of his position, he has effectively shut down his own star power. He was the least-targeted NFL cornerback in 2016, with a ball thrown in his direction once every 8.5 passes. He rarely gets the opportunity to make the highlight reel, a hard concession for a player who relishes the limelight.” 

Peterson is an outstanding athlete who has the ability to make big plays, if the quarterback ever dares to throw the ball his way. But by keeping the ball away from receivers, he's missing out on opportunities to intercept a pass and potentially run it back for a touchdown.  

ProFootballTalk.com used this headline in their article: “Patrick Peterson Has Performed His Way Into Obscurity.”

The reality is, Peterson's strong play hasn’t led to the same attention as a cornerback who grabs interceptions all the time and is seen during the plays of the week. A shutdown corner gets the job done quietly, and with a lot less fanfare.  Even beyond football, many people enjoy making the “highlight reel” either on social media, at work, in church, or in their community. It’s a struggle to serve in obscurity...instead of out front where people notice our “big plays.” 

Sometimes others can be inspired and challenged with our stories of service and giving. However, when our main motive is to seek the limelight or receive praise and personal gain, then we’re missing the point. 

As followers of Jesus He calls us to a different approach, and warns us about doing good for others to see.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:1-4 (ESV), “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” 

It’s one thing for athletes to desire the limelight and a highlight reel, but I hope when we make “big plays,” we’ll be doing good and serving God for His glory.

Today, let's move forward in being okay with shutting down our own “star power.” I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that! 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I confess I like to get credit and acknowledgment for doing something good. Please help me to realize when I am being prideful and selfish. I pray I would give and serve in secret, without doing it for the limelight and praise of others. I need Your strength to humbly do so. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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