Sermon Illustrations

It was January 30, 1994 and Super Bowl XXVIII was being played out at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The NFC champion Dallas Cowboys had just defeated the AFC champion Buffalo Bills, 30–13. Dallas scored 24 unanswered points in the second half, and Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith was named the Super Bowl MVP, with 30 carries for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns, while also catching 4 passes for 26 yards. At the end of the game, Buffalo Bills player Thurman Thomas stayed on the Buffalo bench with his head in his hands. It had been Buffalo’s fourth straight Super Bowl loss. The Bills became the first team to both appear in and lose 4 consecutive Super Bowls. During the game, Thomas fumbled the ball three times which had contributed to the Bills losing the game. But Thomas looked up from the bench to see the Dallas Cowboys’ star running back, Emmitt Smith standing in front of him. He was holding his small goddaughter. Smith looked at her and said, “I want you to meet the greatest running back in the NFL, Mr. Thurman Thomas.” Smith and Thomas were competing for NFL records, but there was no gloating on Smith’s part. Emmitt Smith, if you do not follow sports, retired from the NFL in 2005 as the NFL’s all time rushing record holder, and one of the greatest players in the history of the game. He is also a professing Christian. One article states, “Emmitt founded an organization called the Open Doors Foundation to help underprivileged children overcome and be successful. In an amazing act of selflessness he has donated much of his personal memorabilia collection, and has auctioned much of it off to support the foundation. Some of the items donated and auctioned include his first NFL touchdown ball, his 150 TD ball, and his record breaking uniform and ball.” The article concludes, “This is just another example that Emmitt played for the game itself rather than the glory.”

Emmitt Smith is a contemporary example of Christian humility. Humility is a Christian character quality, because it was part of the character of Christ.