With a healthy blend of humor and authenticity from New Orleans Saints tight end Ben Watson, Liberty University students were encouraged in Friday’s Convocation to bridge the divides in our culture, racial and otherwise, for the sake of unity and the Gospel.
The 11-year NFL veteran has been in the spotlight recently for a candid Facebook post he wrote following the “Ferguson decision.” However, Watson is perhaps best-known for a play he made as a New England Patriot in the 2005 AFC Divisional Game against the Denver Broncos. Following an interception in the end zone by an opponent, Watson ran an estimated 120 yards to stop the player at the one-yard line, preventing a touchdown. Before taking the Vines Center stage, a brief video featuring the play was shown, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Then Watson — whose stature is no less impressive sans shoulder pads and a helmet — joined David Nasser, Liberty’s senior vice president for Spiritual Development, in a Q-and-A-style discussion.
Watson talked about his family and professional career. Nodding to his mother, who was in attendance, he shared his thankfulness for his parents’ Christian influence. Though Watson has had his share of struggles, his faith has shaped the man he is today.
“When you are a believer, that is who you are, that is your essence,” he said, adding that one’s vocation is not separate from that. “We are God’s children; we are Christians first; what we do flows from that.”
He said that he feels at home at Liberty, among other believers.
Watson described his early NFL career, where he struggled with his identity in Christ.
“I felt like my self worth was all wrapped up in football … (as players) we are judged on what we do every single day. … There is always the feeling, ‘Am I going to make it this year … this week … is somebody going to take my job?’” he said.
One of the most important things he has learned over the years is to focus on who he is in Christ first.
“Make sure you know that your identity is in Christ. … If you are not grounded, you are going to be all over the place; you are going to be like a leaf blown by the wind.”
Nasser, who introduced Watson as “a modern day civil rights activist,” asked him to talk about his Facebook post, which has been shared nearly 500,000 times and has more than 860,000 likes.
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SOURCE: Liberty University News Service