I want to play a quick sports trivia game. Can you tell me who this person is?
All-American @ USC
No. 1 draft pick in 1952
Played both offense and defense
NFL player of the year in 1956
If you guessed the late Frank Gifford you guessed correct. As many of you know Frank passed away on August 9th, 2015 which was a complete shock to everyone. But more impressive than his NFL stats was the legacy Frank left behind.
You may or may not have seen the video of Kathy Lee Gifford sharing his legacy on the Today Show last week. She told a story about Frank’s up bringing and the kind of life he lived before his football prowess. Frank was born in 1930 and was raised during the great depression. There were times when all he had to eat was dog food, and he was GRATEFUL for that. Wow, how many of us could utter those words as we are chewing on a plate of dog food?
She goes on to share that before Frank got to high school he and his family moved 29 times because his dad couldn’t find work. And even when he was playing football at USC all he owned was a pair of blue jeans and a white shirt. How many cloths do you and I have in our closets right now?
But through all those trials Frank’s family made it a priority to go to church together every single Sunday no matter what town they were living in. Kathy mentions that Frank’s family’s faith is what got them through it all. And during one of those church visits Frank, as a little boy, asked Jesus into his heart and never looked back.
You see things from a different perspective when you have the heart of Jesus Christ inside of you. When you can fully grasp the sacrifice that Jesus made for you and the subsequent love, mercy and grace that is showered upon you and readily available from him, life takes on new meaning. A life of sharing Christ’s love, sharing Christ’s laughter, sharing Christ’s compassion, sharing Christ’s listening ear, sharing Christ’s wisdom, sharing Christ’s grace, etc…. with people we come across every single day.
I love how Kathy wrapped it up by sharing the story of David and Goliath. When Kathy and Frank took a trip to the Holy Land they went to the valley of Elah which is where David slew Goliath. They went to the very brook that David bent down and picked up the 5 stones he went to battle with. Frank did the same as David and picked up a couple rocks from that same brook to bring home.
When people came to their house and asked to see Frank’s trophy room he took them right past all the football accolades and showed them the rocks he brought back from Elah. He would explain the story behind the rocks and their significance, but the best part is what he would then ask his guest. “Where are you going to throw your stone?” What gifts has God given you to transform this world and make your mark?
I want to wrap this up with a beautiful quote from Kathy; “The miracle wasn’t that the Shepard boy was able to kill the giant. The miracle was that the Shepard boy, who already had all the skills he would ever need in life, trusted in a living God and not a religion.”