In a recent visit to Awakening Church, NFL tight-end Benjamin Watson shared with the body how his faith journey has shaped his life both on and off the field.
Watson sat down with head pastor Jordan Boyce to talk about coming out of retirement, failure and using his platform to glorify God.
“How do you use your platform, and your influence to point people to Jesus?” the Rhode Island church asked.
“I think the biggest part of that is realizing that we must decrease, and he must increase,” Watson responded. “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,” he continued.
“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. 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.”
Watson argued that as much as he loves Lebron James, he isn’t Michael Jordan, yet many kids these days think Lebron is the best because they weren’t alive to watch Jordan play.
It holds an important reminder, that if even the greatest basketball player is becoming forgotten, then we all will be. The point Watson was making was not that life is insignificant, but that every single one of our talents is from God, and using those talents to glorify His name is important.
“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.
Being a good steward of the talents God has given him has played a large role in Watson’s success. It’s also something he see’s demonstrated on and off the field with the Patriots every day. He compared their stewardship and preparation to the preparation a pastor has to put into a sermon.
“You as a pastor cant get up here and just shoot off the hip,” he explained.
“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’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,” Watson pointed out.
Watson, who considers himself a “recovering perfectionist” shared a photo to Instagram from the event, which said, “when you allow yourself the freedom to fail you give yourself the freedom to succeed.”
Watson elaborated on this quote in the sermon, explaining how long it has taken him to work through his perfectionist tendencies. In working through them, he has actually seen the most growth.
He explained how growing up with a pastor for a father can place a lot of pressure on how a kid does things, and why they do things.
“I always struggled with grace,” he explained. “Grace was good for everyone else, but it wasn’t for me.”
“I know better, I’ve got to do better,” he added.
Watson explained that earlier in his career he struggled with perfectionism on the field, which influenced how he acted off the field. It wasn’t until year five of playing in the NFL that he began to realize that growth comes from the freedom to fail.
“We attach our value to our performance, and God is saying ‘No, you have value because I’ve created you in my own image and you have dignity because of that.'”