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Do you remember Bubba Smith? He was one of the greatest football players ever to play in the NFL. He once commented that his tactic as a defensive lineman was to tackle the whole offensive backfield and then toss out players one by one until he found the one with the football.

After he retired from playing football, Bubba Smith started making beer commercials. He was the guy who tore the top off of beer cans, and engaged in the argument about whether it is less filling or tastes great. You remember him now, don’t you?

In a magazine article about him, Bubba Smith said that he has never, ever drunk beer. Drinking any kind of alcoholic beverage just isn’t a part of his life. But he advertised it and felt good about his job. It was an easy job. It was an enjoyable job, and it paid a good salary.

Until one day when he went back to Michigan State, his alma mater, as the Grand Marshal of the Homecoming Parade. As he was riding in the limousine at the head of the parade, he heard the throngs of people on both sides of the parade route shouting. And what were they shouting? "Hail to Michigan State?" No! One side was shouting, "Tastes great!" and the other side was shouting, "Less filling!"

Bubba Smith suddenly realized that he and the beer commercials that he made had had a tremendous impact on the students at Michigan State. And the message that they had gotten was that "It is all right to drink light beer."

Later, Bubba was in Ft. Lauderdale during Spring Break, and he saw drunken college kids up and down the beaches, shouting "Tastes great! Less filling!"

And when it came time to renew his contract, he refused to sign because he said that he didn’t want his life to count for something like that. He said that there was a still, small voice in his mind that kept saying, "Stop, Bubba. Stop." Bubba Smith wanted his life to count.


From John Scoggins’ Sermon “The Shepherds’ Story”

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