James Thrash: Serving God on Any Given Sunday
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CBN.com This is the second tour of duty for James Thrash with the Redskins. The wide receiver began his career in Washington, but spent three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles before coming back to D.C.
Known as one of the most versatile and hardest workers in the league, he plays for one reason.
“I know without a doubt that I’m in the NFL not to make millions of dollars and not to make a big name for myself but to glorify Him,” says Thrash. “I do everything unto Him; I do everything not for man, not for fame, not for a big check but for God.”
That’s obvious when you watch James on Sunday afternoon. He leaves little doubt as to who gets the glory for his success.
“When I score touchdowns I’m always dropping to my knees and praising Him because I’m thanking Him. People say, 'A lot of people do that.' Well, when I do it, I’m actually talking to God, and I tell Him ‘Thank You, Lord for bringing me here.’ I know without Him it wouldn’t be possible. Then on every play I’m thanking God that I’m able to get up after someone hits me really hard. I’m able to walk after a guy knocks my head off when I probably shouldn’t get up.”
He was not always this passionate about his faith. In fact, it used to be quite the opposite.
“My perception of a Christian was one who is weak, didn’t really have any friends, so all he had was God,” he recalls.
In his first season with the Redskins, his career was on the rise… but for some reason, he felt a void in his life. Then he attended a team Bible study.
“I remember sitting there and listening to the pastor teach, and I was like, 'Man, maybe this is what has been missing in my life.' ”
James found God, but what now?
“As a football player I would go out 100 percent. It was the same when I gave my life to Christ. I was on fire out there but I really didn’t have a lot of knowledge. I was just, ‘I’m gonna go get everybody saved; everybody needs God,’” says Thrash. “Before I knew it I was doing the same things I did before because I didn’t have that accountability. I didn’t have that knowledge of the Word. I knew about God, and I knew what He’d done for me but I didn’t really have any good foundation to hold me up.”
But one day something extraordinary happened.
“I heard a voice and it said, 'You’ve been living a lie,'” he says. “I was just amazed.”
He began to feel convicted about his walk with God.
“I was going to Bible study. I was praising the Lord but then when I was with my friends, there was no fruit of that. You know the Bible talks about the fruit of the spirit. Well, I didn’t have that love, joy, peace, patience goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I had the same stuff I had when I was living for the world although I was proclaiming to be a Christian with Christian brothers.”
That encounter radically changed him, and James devoted every part of his life to Christ. That devotion keeps him from the distractions of fame.
“The more you stay in the Word, the more you pray, and the more you seek God’s face, the less time you have for other things,” he says. “We’ve been anointed with the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us wisdom and discernment.”
Clearly James uses his career in the NFL to share his faith in Christ.
“The world will tell you that if you’re not making a lot of money, if you don’t live in a nice house or drive a nice car and have nice clothes, then you’re not at a certain standard with society,” he says. “God says you’re greater cause you’re a prince; you’re a co-heir with Jesus to the throne of the most high God. Come before Him and walk with integrity and with boldness knowing that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. If you think that way, then no one can ever make you feel like you’re not worthy to be a believer.”
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