To say that Ray Lewis is a passionate man would be the understatement of the century. His passion about and commitment to his beliefs are incomparable.
The depths of his devotion and the intensity of his emotion are difficult for some to accept as genuine. And for casual observers, that’s completely understandable.
We’ve been conditioned as a society to be jaded and skeptical when it comes to uncommon passion like Ray’s. We wonder if it’s staged, if it’s disingenuous. We’ve seen bible beating evangelists who have been exposed as practitioners of acts that fly in the face of the things that they preach.
So we observe such uncommon passion with a jaundiced eye.
What are these professors of devout faith trying to pull over on us?
What’s in it for them?
And why does Ray Lewis have to preach about God all the time?
Think about that question for a moment.
Does Ray’s purpose, clearly guided by faith, bother you? And if so, why?
Is it your own insecurities about your faith or lack thereof that are agitated by Ray’s pontifications? That you don’t really want to hear him expressing his religious convictions because it’s a reminder that yours are weak?
Some might say that Ray’s responses to questions regarding the game of football, often driven by his faith, are out of place and that they just want to hear an answer purely motivated by the game and the things that happened between the lines.
Still others might say that God doesn’t really care about football so why bring it up? Even Tim Tebow believes God doesn’t impact the outcome of football games.
But every man, every woman is wired differently.
Ray is about leaving a team, a game, a city, a little better than when he arrived. He wants to express those passions, emotions and devotion to his faith so that in some way it connects to you, reaches you with hopes that you channel it in a way that works for you and inspires you to be better at whatever it is you do or want to do.
Even if he only reaches 1 out of 100 or 1,000, that is one more person inspired to make a change that impacts the world of his family, his friends or even yours and mine. Maybe it’s as simple as having one more person practice random acts of kindness.
I’m reminded at this moment of Jim Valvano’s famous speech at the ESPY Awards just prior to losing his bout with cancer.
“When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it’s the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy.
“But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”
Strong words, no doubt.
They resonate immediately yet to really act upon them and do what Jimmy V suggests every day the ambition has to be fueled by something.
For Ray Lewis, that something is his faith and if that faith has guided him in a way that has allowed him to achieve, to lead, to inspire and to make a difference in the lives of many the way he has, then why should anyone criticize that?
If anything, it should inspire you to seek out the touchstone that fuels your passion to be better at whatever it is YOU do; to be a better person and leave YOUR mark on the world.
It’s been said often that it doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive, the size of the home you live in or how big your bank account is. What matters is how you affect the life of a child.
That’s a legacy.
It lives on.
Clearly Ray Lewis has done that exponentially, driven by faith.
So if after the Ravens win on Sunday, Ray begins to preach that this is what God wanted and you find yourself rolling your eyes think about this…
Maybe it wasn’t the Super Bowl that God wanted but instead He wanted to deliver that audience for Ray, to impact lives, even if just a few.
For me this isn’t about influencing your religious convictions, it’s about connecting to them, whatever they are so that it helps you to be a better you and therefore make a better world.
And what’s wrong with that?