Most don’t view Israel as a hotspot for sports. However, Israel has seen recent successes in Olympic competition, as well as in soccer and other sports.
Recently Jewish New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, sponsored a tour of 18 NFL Hall-of-Famers to Israel to promote American football, and to provide a glimpse into the truth about Israel (despite what media outlets portray). Only 2 of the 18 had previously been to Israel.
While there, the former greats provided coaching and encouragement to Israeli high schoolers as they hit the gridiron. As they promoted the game, they were met with great fanfare and appreciation.
However, I think God had bigger plans for that trip than simply promoting football. Not only did the stars learn much about Israel’s history and tour many Christian sites, but many took advantage of the opportunity to be baptized in the Jordan River (as Jesus was).
According to Breaking Israel News:
Cornerback Lem Barney told media that he had been drawn to Israel for religious reasons. Barney, who serves as associate minister at Empowerment Church in Southfield, Michigan, described the “great spirituality” in the country. “This is a dream come true,” he said.
“Israel is the center of what’s happening, and it’s good to see it,” added tight end Dave Casper.
Pro-bowler Jerome Bettis told attendees at a Sunday football event in Jerusalem that the trip had been incredibly meaningful for he and his wife, saying it had “changed our lives.”
“A dream come true…Israel is the center of what’s happening…changed our lives.”
Visiting Israel will do that to a person! Which leads me to ask: What was more dramatic, the Hall-of-Famers’ promotion of football, or Israel’s impact on the lives of those Hall-of-Famers?
I dare say, those men likely left knowing they had been far greater blessed than they ever imagined. Superstar Joe Montana may have said it best:
“While we come here on a mission for American football, I think we take home a lot more than we bring.”
Amen to that! If you have never been to Israel, put it on your list! Your life will be changed, and you will take home more than you ever thought possible!