NFL coach Frank Reich is a man of faith. He also understands the place of his profession, as head coach in the NFL, and it’s relation to his faith.

Many revolutionary concepts came from the Reformation, and one is the Biblical teaching of the priesthood of all believers. 1 Peter 2:5 calls believers a holy priesthood, and then just four verses later calls believers a royal priesthood.

Historically, the Protestant movement taught that all of God’s people have a sacred calling, not just pastors. The reformers were not trying to diminish the unique, holy and indispensable calling of the pastoral office. Pastors are called upon to preach the word and to give leadership to the people of God. But all of God’s people need to view their work as a sacred calling offered up to the glory of God.

NFL coach Frank Reich and making football history

That brings me to Indianapolis Colts and NFL coach Frank Reich. Reich made NFL history this past season by taking a 1-5 record, turning it around, and winning the next nine of 10 games. That was only the third time in NFL history that a 1-5 team made it to the playoffs. His Colts then went on to beat the Texans in the first round of the playoffs, only to lose to the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round.

But, Frank Reich is not only a successful football coach. He is also the former campus president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. After that, he pastored a local church before returning to football. This dichotomy between careers in football and full-time Christian work is what makes Reich so interesting. He is an outspoken and faithful follower of Jesus who left positions as a seminary president and a pastor in order to go back to the NFL. Did he abandon his faith? Not at all.

Reich said, “I came to recognize more and more this false dichotomy between sacred and secular work.” He also said, “Pastoring isn’t everyone’s calling.”

“Football had become my God. When that was taken from me, I realized I had to reprioritize my life.”

Well, that seems Biblical. But, long before his recent appointment as head coach at Indianapolis, Reich had a storied career in both college football and the NFL. At some point in time, Reich said, “Football had become my God. When that was taken from me, I realized I had to reprioritize my life.”

Whether it’s football, the pastoral ministry or any other profession in life that brings joy and glory to God, Christians need to realize that the profession we have chosen is not God. All good things can become an idol if we think that what we do and what we accomplish is the most important thing about us. Our task is to learn to serve God in all things and bring glory to Him. If we lose our profession, we have lost nothing. For, as Paul taught us, all these things are rubbish over against the surpassing greatness of knowing God.

We do well to lose all things so that we may gain Christ

The priesthood of all believers is a wonderful truth. It teaches us that all that we do is sacred when done to honour Christ’s name. But, as with all of God’s callings, we can so easily replace love for God with love for our profession. When that happens, we do well to lose all things so that we may gain Christ.

The priesthood of all believers is a wonderful truth. It teaches us that all that we do is sacred when done to honour Christ’s name. But as with all of God’s callings, we can so easily replace love for God with love for our profession. When that happens, we do well to lose all things so that we may gain Christ.

NFL coach Frank Reich, Faith and Work by Dr. John Neufeld