Peyton Manning drinks Budweiser, doesn’t point to God after scoring a touchdown, and never prayed to win a football game.
He’s also a Christian.
Manning accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at the age of thirteen, and since then, his faith has been his number one priority. He grew up in a Bible-believing home, and he tries to be the best man he can be…but there’s an important reason why you don’t really hear much about that side of him.
He would rather his actions outshine his words.
Often times, we squish Christianity into this little box of do’s and don’t‘s, stuffing an infinite God into the puny confines of our own minds. We think we know what following Christ looks like, but in his book Manning that Peyton co-wrote with his dad Archie, Peyton reveals how his Christian walk may not look the same as anyone else’s—but it is no greater, and no lesser.
And this is exactly what he means…
Transcript via Minding the Truth:
“Like my dad, I make it a point when I speak to groups to talk about priorities, and when it’s schoolkids, I rank those priorities as: faith, family, and education, then football. For me generally it had always been the big four: faith, family, friends, and football. And I tell all of them that as important as football is to me, it can never be higher than fourth. My faith has been number one since I was thirteen years old and heard from the pulpit on a Sunday morning in New Orleans a simple question: “If you died today, are you one hundred percent sure you’d go to heaven?” Cooper was there and Eli [Peyton’s two brothers] but it didn’t hit them at the time the way it did me. It was a big church, and I felt very small, but my heart was pounding. The minister invited those who would like that assurance through Jesus Christ to raise their hands, and I did. Then he invited us to come forward, to take a stand, and my heart really started pounding. And from where we sat, it looked like a mile to the front.
But I got up and did it. And I committed my life to Christ, and that faith has been most important to me ever since. Some players get more vocal about it—the Reggie Whites, for example—and some point to Heaven after scoring a touchdown and praise God after games. I have no problem with that. But I don’t do it, and don’t think it makes me any less a Christian. I just want my actions to speak louder, and I don’t want to be more of a target for criticism than I already am. Somebody sees you drinking a beer, which I do, and they think, “Hmmmm, Peyton says he’s this, that, or the other, and there he is drinking alcohol. What’s that all about?”