New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson has long been vocal about his faith and Christian values. From passionately advocating for the rights of the unborn to calling out America’s double standard on prayer, Watson has continuously used his celebrity platform to glorify God.
In a recent interview at Awakening Church in Rhode Island, the NFL star opened up in greater detail about his faith journey and how it has molded both his personal and professional life.
When asked by pastor Jordan Boyce how he uses his platform to point people to Jesus, Watson responded, “I think the biggest part of that is realizing that we must decrease, and he must increase.”
The father of five went on to explain how the sole purpose of our life on earth is to glorify God:
“We do exist for His glory, God created man and woman to glorify Him. Our ultimate purpose in life is to glorify God. He’s given us all talents and abilities, which we use, but ultimately He created us to glorify Himself because He is God and He can do that.
Ultimately we need to realize that. While we do exist to make Him famous and glorify Him, we also realize on the flip side that He doesn’t need us. That we are part of a larger body, globally, internationally, and it’s simply our turn to carry the torch.”
Watson shared that we are called to ‘carry the torch’ in the same way that the disciples, early church members, and our ancestors have done, all while remembering that the light we are carrying is not about illuminating our greatness, as we are merely a “vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).
“So just in the same way that the disciples carried the torch, the same way the early church members carried the torch, your father, my father, we are eventually going to be gone,” said Watson. “If you ever think you’re too important, ask your kids about your grandfather, she doesn’t know him. That’s how fast we are here. You are two generations from being forgotten.”
To illustrate his point, Watson brought up the example of the great basketball legend Michael Jordan as he compares to LeBron James. He explained that though he loves LeBron, he’s not Michael Jordan—but that hasn’t stopped many kids today from thinking LeBron is the greatest player of all time simply because it’s all they’ve ever seen or known.
The illustration served as a reminder that if even the best basketball player of all time is starting to fade from memory, we will all soon be forgotten. Watson didn’t drive the point home to show that our lives are meaningless or small, but rather to preach that our God-given talents are meant to bring glory to His name, as ours are fleeting.
“We need to have a realistic view of ourselves, and the realistic view is we exist to glorify God, but none of us are bigger than God,” Watson added.
While the tight end is admittedly a ‘recovering perfectionist’ and a work in progress, his growth in Christ has made him a much better steward of the gifts God has given him—which he’s repeatedly displayed on and off the field.
He likened his stewardship and preparation with the Patriots to the preparation a pastor must invest into a sermon.
“You as a pastor cant get up here and just shoot off the hip,” said Watson. “Yes, the Holy Spirit is part of it, but you need to put in the work. You have to put in twenty hours to give an hour message. Whatever it is that you are doing, you can’t just fly off the seat of your pants.”
That concept translates for the NFL player in every area of his life.
“That’s something that translates to whatever I am doing, whether it’s being a husband, father, teammate, architect, plumber, a teacher, mother, father, child, or a student, whatever it is, I’ve learned how to prepare,” he continued.
Watson also shed some light on what broke him free from the shackles of perfectionism that had him bound for much of his life.
“When you allow yourself the freedom to fail you give yourself the freedom to succeed,” he wrote on Instagram.
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Though it’s been painful working through his perfectionistic tendencies, Watson says it’s actually what has given him the most personal growth.
With a pastor as a dad, the Patriots player is all too familiar with high expectations and the extreme pressure that’s put on many kids today.
“I always struggled with grace,” he said. “Grace was good for everyone else, but it wasn’t for me. I know better, I’ve got to do better.”
Watson revealed that it wasn’t until about five years into his NFL career that he actually had the revelation that growth comes out of the “freedom to fail.”
“We attach our value to our performance,” said Watson. “And God is saying ‘No, you have value because I’ve created you in my own image and you have dignity because of that.’”