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Should Athletes Thank God After Winning a Game?

I had a great time watching Superbowl XLV, which featured the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburg Steelers. I had my food and sweet treats together and it was on! If you need a good potato skins recipe, click here.

Anyway, it was a good game that was close all the way to the final seconds. The Steelers had a good run in the third quarter and even some of the fourth, but turnovers cost them the game. The Green Bay Packers emerged victorious, 31- 25. Greg Jennings scored two touchdowns for the Green Bay Packers. He was interviewed by Pam Oliver after the game and this is what he said:

“It’s a great day to be great. To God be the Glory.” – Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers

Jennings was overjoyed about the win and gave praise to God. As the son of a preacher, it was natural for him.

I was on Twitter while watching the game and saw that a few people didn’t like what he said.

Here’s some of the things people said about his public thanks to God:

  • God doesn’t care about the game.

 

  • God is too busy with war and other stuff to be dealing with a football game.

 

  • God can’t change the outcome of a football game.

 
While those persons are entitled to their viewpoint, mine is totally different. I think it was wonderful that he thanked God! I believe that God is the giver of all talents and gifts. Yes, we have to put the work in to be great, but God blesses us with the ability. He blesses us with opportunity. He opens doors for us to showcase our talent. And that is worth thanking God for.

Think about it this way. When we graduate from school, we thank our parents. Why? Because they cared for us and made sure that we had everything they could possibly give us to be successful. God does the same thing but to an even higher level. He blesses our parents with the ability to provide for our needs. He watches over us and protects us. Why is it okay to publicly thank our parents when we graduate from school, but it’s not okay to publicly thank God whenever we have success?

Yes, God has a lot of things he’s dealing with right now. There are wars and civil unrest in diverse places. People are dying all over the world from disease and famine. But despite all of this, God still cares about each of us individually. He even knows the number of hairs on our head (Luke 12:6-7). God is the ultimate multi-tasker. He is omnipresent, which means he is here, there, and everywhere at the same time (Psalm 139: 7-10). God answering your prayer doesn’t stop him from being a blessing to someone else at that very moment. He works blessings simultaneously. There’s no waiting list with God.

Everyone likes praise. If I give Little Man something, I expect him to show appreciation and thanks for what I’ve done for him. If he didn’t say thank you, I’d be quick to remind him about his manners. While we are working on our jobs, we like and expect to be recognized whenever we’ve done an exceptional job. Well, God loves praise too! He inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3). In Psalm 100, it tells us that God made us and we are to be thankful to him and bless his name.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.

You may not have a Super Bowl ring, but I encourage you to give God thanks and praise for all that he has blessed you with. He’s certainly worthy!

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{ 25 comments… add one }
  • lila.herrera March 14, 2012, 3:15 AM

    I have learned one thing in life and that to me its offensive to thank God in Public for something good that happen to you. yes i believe in thanking God but I believe thats a private matter between you and him. Let me give an example some people thank God publicly everyday for waking them up, like is a blessing yes I agree it is but its a blessing for you. because what happened to the people who didn’t wake up? It will look like God didn’t bless them and it will look unfair.

  • Moyo December 30, 2011, 11:53 PM

    LOL…this was interesting. As far as there is some kind of God consciousness, at least that’s a starting point.

    Moyo

  • Kel May 16, 2011, 8:49 PM

    I disagree. I think it’s silly when players do this. It doesn’t seem genuine. God doesn’t pick sides and doesn’t care who wins a game. Furthermore, it’s not like the losers have less faith or anything. I understand that you’re saying it’s not the winning, it’s that they have been blessed with the opportunity, but athletes never say this. If they did, it wouldn’t bother me. And they only point this out when they win big. When they make bold statements like “to God be the glory” it sounds like they think their win is some important battle that determines the very fate of human kind or something.

    It doesn’t offend me, I just think it’s a little strange. It seems like they’re bringing more attention to themselves, not God, when they say things like this. They only thank him publicly when they win. Making it public makes it seem a bit self-important. It’s great to be thankful, but declaring it on TV isn’t necessary. If you’re truly greatful, God, who is supposed to be omniscient, will know. I just know that for me, personally, when I hear players do this it throws me a bit off guard and it just seems incongruous. I’m usually confused at first wondering how the subject changed from sports to God. I just don’t think it’s the appropriate time and place to do it. To me, it’s cheapens it. It makes it seem like they’re advertizing shampoo or something.

    I would also like to add that if an athlete were to say for example, “Praises to Allah” they would not be praised, they would be criticized for the most part. And many Americans would have a negative view of that particular person. I have a major problem with this. Kind of like how Obama was criticized for acknowledging those who don’t believe in God in his Inaugural Address. Why did so many people have a problem with this? There are all kinds of people in this country, and that’s what makes it so great. I, frankly, believe it makes many radical Christians feel uncomfortable and threatened. It’s one of the main reasons Americans continue to reject the theory of evolution.

    Sorry to get philosophical on you, it’s just one of the things I take issue with.

    • Walt December 3, 2011, 1:32 AM

      Kel! Nicely put 🙂

  • Heather March 21, 2011, 3:42 PM

    I think it’s definitely appropriate to thank God for the talent he has given them. I think people who complain about that are insecure in their faith and don’t like having it “flaunted” that someone else could possibly be so secure that they would thank God in front of the world!

  • quiet spirit February 22, 2011, 6:46 PM

    Paul tells us to thank God in all circumstances,(good, not so good, winning, losing.)
    I learned to thank Him for some good things I saw in an overall less that good situation. God taught me to be content about the factors.

  • Amber February 18, 2011, 11:09 PM

    I saw this too while watching the game and I couldn’t help but smile.
    I was glad he said it. There was even a part of me laughing at the fact that he brought God into a national tv broadcast that millions were watching. Just a reminder God is everywhere!

    Good for him!!

  • Debby February 17, 2011, 10:55 AM

    Oh yes, that was an awesome game, and I shouted with joy when Greg gave God the glory. So glad I came here…I didn’t know Greg said that prayer right after the touchdown that was commented on above.

    Great post…great game…great God!

  • Julie February 10, 2011, 11:17 AM

    Not only did Greg Jennings thank God after the game but what he did immediately after the touchdown was even more amazing. On a replay of the game last night, they played a tape of Greg Jenning’s wired mic just after the touchdown. As he knelt down and prayed, he said “The glory and honor are yours, Lord.” I replayed that many times for my 13 year old son and got chills each time. His immediate thought was not to pat himself on the back but to thank the Lord who gave him his skills. He is now my top pick for MVP!

    • Tonya February 11, 2011, 12:40 AM

      That’s awesome! I didn’t see that part. It was a great thing for your son to see too. Someone on Twitter said that Jennings had the MVP (Most Valuable Praise)! 🙂

    • Josie February 11, 2011, 9:31 PM

      I would love to see/hear Greg’s prayer. I did hear his comments to the Fox reporter after the game ended, giving glory to God. Warmed my heart to hear him giving glory to God. Awesome.

  • Donna Perugini February 7, 2011, 6:30 PM

    After they give glory to God, I hope they live for Him too as walking epistles.

    Once you openly define yourself as a Christian sports hero, you have a target on your back. I’m just sayin’.

    • Tonya February 7, 2011, 9:39 PM

      You bring up a good point. But it extends past being a Christian sports hero. Any person that openly identifies as a Christian is a target that will be watched carefully for any sign of behavior that’s contrary to the faith. Like you said, we all have to live for Him as walking epistles. Thanks for stopping by today!

  • greenbaychampionshipgear.com February 7, 2011, 4:56 PM

    I have no problem with athletes thanking God. We are called to do all things to His glory and playing football is one of them.

    • Tonya February 7, 2011, 9:26 PM

      I agree! Thanks for stopping by my blog today. 🙂

  • Paul February 7, 2011, 12:46 PM

    God works in mysterious ways.
    I thought it was wonderful to see a man in probably his greatest earthly moment
    give homage to the Lord. In what was a thrilling presentation by two great NFL teams, a somewhat coarse commercial parade by our advertisers, and the as-usual over hyped celebration of our secular culture by most of the rest of it.
    I was thrilled to cheer Greg Jennings as he made my Superbowl XLV experience complete. He brought it all into perfect perspective on national tv with just five simple words, “To God be the Glory.”
    Now that, my friends . . . is a role model !

    • Tonya February 7, 2011, 9:26 PM

      Yes, I agree that it was a wonderful way to sum up the game!

  • Derek February 7, 2011, 10:19 AM

    Hey! I really like your article. I’ve linked to it on the new blog I’m starting.

    http://christstrong.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/the-super-bowl/

    It’s a blog where talking about growing stronger in the Lord first – then growing strong elsewhere in our lives. Looking forward to more of your articles in the future ~ God Bless!

    • Tonya February 7, 2011, 9:22 PM

      Thanks for linking to my post! I’ll have to check out your blog. Welcome to the blogisphere and thanks for stopping by my blog today!

  • Lori February 7, 2011, 7:56 AM

    I think it’s awesome! People shouldn’t be offended- I mean, we are wayyyyy to worried about “not offending anyone.” You don’t like God- sorry for you- I’m still going to thank him!

    Put it this way, if I thanked my (earthly) father for helping me do something, would it be fair to someone who didn’t know their father or who didn’t get along with theirs to say “Hey! You can’t do that! I don’t have similar feelings!”
    I don’t think anyone would say that’d be fair.

    • Tonya February 7, 2011, 9:20 PM

      I agree that society is too caught up in “not offending anyone.” And I like your example as well. I believe it’s more important to be concerned about what God thinks versus what people think.

  • Karen and Gerard February 7, 2011, 5:53 AM

    I have no problem at all with this but wonder if he praises God when he loses as well. It’s easy to thank God when things go well, not so much when we are down in the dumps. Just wondering.

    • Tonya February 7, 2011, 9:18 PM

      Hmm…that’s something to think about, not only in his situation, but in our daily lives too. God is still good, regardless of whether we are having a good day or not. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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