David was just a kid, but he was on a roll. He was a rookie in Israel’s military but performing like a superstar. Every time he went out on a campaign he lit it up. The army grunts loved him, the officers loved him, the people loved him–he captured the imagination of the nation. If Twitter were around in those days the top trending hashtag would have been #David.
He was an amazing man, David. And multi-talented too, because not only was he Israel’s superstar warrior, but he was also one of their best musicians. Sometimes king Saul would have him play at the palace, performing a private concert just for him. But Saul wasn’t well. He was sometimes overcome with a spirit of evil intent toward David, born of envy. One of those times he picked up his spear and threw it at David, in an attempt to pin him against the wall and kill him. David responded by eluding Saul’s spear and fleeing. Then it happened again, and again David didn’t retaliate but, simply evaded Saul’s spear and fled. David would not raise his hand against Saul for anything. (1 Samuel 18)
How Jesus Loved People
Speaking of Jesus, Matthew 27 says,
When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor. (Matthew 27:12-14)
So Jesus is under fire. The religious leadership of his day is cranking out false accusations like only politicians can. And they’re the government, so there are consequences, serious consequences. And the way Jesus handles it is to say nothing in response. He doesn’t defend himself, not even against one single false charge.
An NFL Quarterback, a Fire Chief, and a Pastor
A friend who used to work security in a football stadium told me about this encounter he saw between a Chicago Bears’ quarterback and a homeless guy. The QB arrived at the field early before a game and was walking into the stadium when this homeless guy “accosted” him. He grabbed his arm and started telling the quarterback how to do his job. He went on and on about how this quarterback could improve his play on the field. The quarterback remained silent during the whole episode. Much to my friend’s amazement, when the homeless guy finally ran out of steam the quarterback said, “I appreciate your suggestions, and I’ll try to keep them in mind for the game. It was nice talking to you.” (For more on this quarterback see the NOTES section at the bottom of this post.)
I saw a new fire chief do something similar one time when one of our senior Captains on the department laid into him for changing a policy. This senior Captain was yelling obscenities and making crazy accusations, right in front of a group of firefighters. The new chief remained calm and didn’t say much of anything in response.
Another time I saw a pastor get lambasted by an elder in a leadership meeting. This pastor just sat there on his stool, in front of the group of fifty or so elders, and he just, well he just listened. During the entire diatribe his expression was one of thoughtfulness. And after the “accuser” was through, the pastor just said, “Huh.” But he said it in a tone that said, “OK, I hear what you’re saying, and I will think about it.” The “accuser” seemed satisfied. The pastor then moved on to the next agenda item.
Love Like Jesus
I don’t know about you but when I’m accused of something I want to defend myself. I want to defend myself–even when the accusations are true! But Jesus didn’t respond that way. Like David, when Jesus was the target of someone’s spears he didn’t throw spears back. In fact in the end, he loved his accusers so much he died for them on the cross. And he prayed for them, while he was dying, when he said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
That’s how you and I can love like Jesus. We can hold our peace when we’re accused, criticized, or otherwise attacked. We’re not the Christ (John 1:20) so we don’t have to succumb to physical crucifixion in the way Jesus did, but we can refrain from throwing spears back like David did. Like the Bears quarter back, the fire chief, and the pastor, we can decline to defend. Like David we can duck those spears, but not throw them back.
And like Jesus we can love those people, those accusers, by forgiving them, and even praying for them.
The truly great men I’ve seen in these situations respond like Jesus. They respond by out loving their accusers.
That’s what Jesus did.
You can too.
The quarterback for the Chicago Bears was Bill Wade. Wade was the QB for the Bears when they won the championship in 1963. My friend tells me that after the encounter, the homeless guy was beaming with pride. Today the Bears play at Soldier Field but when this incident occurred they played at Wrigley.
Before Tim Tebow, Bill Wade was an NFL quarterback who was into evangelism. He used to pass out a pamphlet he created called, “Quarterback for Christ.” In that tract Wade describes his relationship with Jesus. (Larry Norris, VanderBears: Jay Cutler Now and Bill Wade Then, Sporting Chance Press Talk)
Excerpt from Bill Wade’s Quarterback for Christ:
Bill Wade — Quarterback for Christ
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
When sports writers and others ask me for my greatest thrill, they no doubt have in mind some dramatic game or specific play that occurred during my collegiate years at Vanderbilt University, my seven years with the Los Angeles Rams, or my experience with the Chicago Bears. They are usually surprised at my reply.
First of all, my most thrilling moment in football is yet to come. In the game of life, however, my most thrilling moment to date would have to the decision I made after Navy officer Jim Wilson talked to me for about six hours back in 1953. Though I had been brought up in a Christian home, with wonderfully devout parents, Jim impressed upon me the necessity for a personal surrender to Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. A new aim and purpose in my life resulted from my spiritual transaction at that time.
In the game of pro football, there are many injuries which could be avoided. The best way to escape these is to keep your body physically fit.
When we consider life, whether it be for ten years or a hundred, we are participating in a series of games. We will readily admit that the game of life is basically
spiritual. As we play the game and learn our purpose, whether it be president of a bank, worker in a factory, secretary, or quarterback of a football team, we must exercise ourselves spiritually to win the daily battles.
I have found there are three basic exercises which strengthen me spiritually. The first is the exercise of prayer. The second is that of reading the Bible. The third is one that is vital to every Christian — that of asking in prayer each day that you might be allowed to talk to someone about the Christian way of life.
If you believe that God has created you, it becomes a supplemental belief that He has created you for a purpose. What purpose? This is answered when we submit ourselves to Him, that His will be done in our lives.
In talking to youth groups on the subject of “What It Takes To Play Football,” I like this acrostic:
C — Confidence “. . . If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
H — Humility. “. . . he that humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11).
R — Respect. We must have a respect for laws, of doing what is right. A healthy respect for others is vital to a fruitful Christian life.
I — Intelligence. As a quarterback, one must learn and know a great many things. To be good, useful Christians, we should be as intelligent as possible.
S — Sincerity. You must be sincere before people will believe you.
T — Truth. “Unto thine own self be true.” Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t try to fool yourself by fooling others.
We can belong to Christ by opening our hearts, allowing Him to cleanse us from our sin, and personally accepting Him as Saviour and Lord of our life.
Open up all the way to Jesus Christ. Let Him guide you into a wonderful new life.