When two Christians, with opposing views, pray to God about the same issue, which person does the Lord listen to? That’s the question I have been asked many times before. It has come up again due to the fact that No. 1 Alabama will play No. 4 Notre Dame January 1 in the College Football Playoff semifinals. Alabama Coach Nick Saban is a favorite to hate on by most SEC fans, but he has won five national championships at Alabama. He is also an outspoken Catholic. Saban’s faith has come back into conversation due to his answer to a question asked Saturday by SEC Network reported Laura Rutledge. Alabama had just beaten Florida 52-46 in the SEC Championship to secure a slot in the four-team College Football Playoff. The playoff selection show airs the following morning (Sunday) at 11 o’clock Central. Rutledge asked Saban if he had any plans to watch it. Saban replied, “I go to church from 11 to 12, so they're going to have to either schedule it at a different time, or I'm going to find out when I get out of church.” His answer surprised non Alabama fans because they have always assumed that Saban had made a deal with the devil many years ago. Just kidding, but it was great to hear an answer like that from a coach like Saban.
Most people outside of the Alabama fan base do not know but in 2016 Saban and his wife dedicated a Catholic Student Center at the university in Tuscaloosa. The Saban Catholic Student Center is part of the St. Francis of Assisi University Parish in Tuscaloosa. Saban discussed this with the Catholic Network at the time. https://www.al.com/sports/2016/04/watch_nick_saban_explain_how_h.html
When Notre Dame and Alabama play on New Year’s Day it will not be the first time they have met. They played back in 2002 in the BCS National Championship Game. Saban was asked about his faith back then, responding he stated, "Being a Catholic kid growing up, I always watched Notre Dame and everybody in my family was interested in what Notre Dame did." So, come New Year’s Day, which team will God be cheering for? The answer is both! Like a loving parent watching two children compete against eachother, how can you cheer for one more than the other? In the end you want them to have fun, do their best, and represent Jesus in everything they do. That’s the reality for all Christians. God has a plan for us, but we have a tremendous amount of free will within that plan. God is more concerned about the content of our hearts and the motivation behind our decisions than He is the decisions themselves. Anyone can “act out” Christianity, it takes a real Believer to “live out” their faith.
True Believers do not need to display their “acts of righteousness” for other people to see. God knows our heart and He knows the motivation behind what we do. No matter what sport team you cheer for, God cheers for you!
“Be careful not to perform your righteous acts before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their full reward.… Matthew 6:1-2
Serving the Savior,
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