(A repeat from 2011. Keep Mr. Starr in your prayers. He suffered a heart attack and two strokes last year. His recovery has been very difficult).
As a child, I loved professional football, I loved the Green Bay Packers, and I loved Bart Starr. As an adult, I've lost interest in the game and the team, but I still greatly admire and respect Mr. Starr for his exemplary life as a Christian gentleman.
Bart is legendary here in his home state of Alabama. His on the field exploits certainly provide much of the reason for his notoriety. However, he is also known for the life he has lived and the things he's done as the expression of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I recall the story of a gentleman whose car broke down on the Interstate. Many drivers passed him by without stopping until finally a car pulled over to the side of the road behind the stalled vehicle. Bart Starr stepped out of the car to help. This is one of many stories told by Alabamians about a man honored as the 1960s NFL Player of the Decade. More importantly, Mr. Starr has quietly honored the Lord with a life of self sacrificial devotion to God and people.
I have a personal Bart Starr story. Many years ago, our family stopped at a fruit stand in central Alabama as we returned home from vacation. The stand is known for its peach ice cream, and we entered to enjoy a treat. As I stood in line, a man passed by, leaving the store. I only glanced at him, but later, looking through the plate glass windows of the building, I realized that Bart Starr had crossed my path. I saw him get into his car, where his wife waited. They sat there for several minutes enjoying their ice cream cones. This presented me with a dilemma. A strong inclination gripped my heart, causing me to want to go out to the car and tell Mr. Starr what a blessing he has been to me as a football player, but far more, as a Christian gentleman. For a half century, he has held such a special place in my heart. I now finally had the opportunity to tell him so. However, another thought came to mind, which ultimately guided my actions. People of prominence continually experience the interruption of private moments. Anything I might say to Mr. Starr would be words he's doubtless heard a thousand times. He deserved the time with his wife and his peach ice cream cone. I therefore decided to thank the Lord for a nice blessing by allowing Mr. and Mrs. Starr to enjoy their privacy.
I've always been glad for the restraint I exercised that day, doubtless as led and enabled by the Lord. It would have been nice to have met Bart Starr. It was far nicer, however, to exercise the same respect I am confident he would have shown had the situation been reversed. Mr. Starr has long epitomized Christian dignity and decorum. I want to follow his example. It says much about the man that he could inspire such a determination, and it says even more about the Lord Jesus Christ who lives in God's trusting children, enabling such exemplary influence. I am sure that Mr. Starr would give all glory to His Savior for the life he has lived. Those of us blessed by Bart Starr are also inspired to give thanks for the Christ who has enabled His child to serve as such a shining example of faith and faithfulness.
"As it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
(I Corinthians 10:31)
Weekly Memory Verse
Surely one shall say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength. Even to Him shall men come, and that that are incensed against Him shall be ashamed."