The official start to the football season is several months away, but I’ve got football on my mind probably because I just had the privilege of spending some time with Jim Zorn, NFL head coach of the Washington Redskins. Jim was hired by the Redskins franchise shortly after legendary head coach Joe Gibbs retired in January of 2008. Jim’s been a long time friend of Focus on the Family and, I might add, his daughter graduated from our Focus on the Family Institute.
It would be tempting to believe that football was the most important thing in Jim’s life. After all, he kicked off his career as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys, then spent almost a decade quarterbacking for the Seattle Seahawks with Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent, followed by a stint as QB for the Green Bay Packers. Toss in his professional coaching career and you can see why it would be easy to think that for Jim, Football = Life.
But during our visit, it was quickly evident that football isn’t what defines him or gives his life purpose and meaning. Not even close. Jim’s personal faith in God and his relationship to his wife and four kids are at the top of his list. As Jim told TheGoal.com, “God has said in His Word, the Bible, that I am a creation of His. I have value because He created me. My self-worth is based solely upon what He has said. It is not based upon what a coach or a team thinks of me and my ability.”
I love that perspective.
While having crowds of fans cheering him on the field is a lot of fun, I picked up on the fact that the most important thing for Jim is to experience the applause of heaven. I can’t say I’ve always had that perspective. I used to play football back in high school and, while high school ball isn’t even in the same league as where Jim lives, I vividly remember how I’d feed on the reaction of the crowd. It was energizing to hear the roar of the fans when I’d throw a touchdown pass.
But crowds are fickle.
Throw a few interceptions and—boom!—they’ll turn on you in an instant. One day you’re on top of the world, the next day you’re warming a bench on the sidelines or, worse, canned from the team. Not so with God. He loves us regardless of our performance. He loves us simply because we are His children.
Thanks, Jim, for that reminder!
[PHOTO L to R: Ken Windebank, Senior VP Focus on the Family, Jim Zorn, and myself.]