Finding HOPE - Carson
Since 2016 use the name Carson in any Philadelphia establishment and you'll automatically be immersed in a football discussion. A young man from North Dakota, with incredible physical gifts, has put the Philadelphia Eagles on his shoulders and offered hope to an entire city.
Use the phrase AO1 in the same establishments and you'd get a much weaker response. Many will not know what you are talking about; others will know it's "some kind of charity" while a majority will probably know the spiritual context
Carson brought not only his physical gifts to Philadelphia but a sizable faith. His witnessing from the start was so impressive that more than once our lead pastor, Jeff Bills at Hope Church, Voorhees NJ referred to the young man who is not afraid of defensive linemen or professing his love for the teachings of Jesus. Professional athletes are expected to exhibit strength and courage. Coupling faith within this rugged profession was a new and refreshing twist.
Carson knows that as a Christian you must only be concerned about the Audience of One; The Lord, our creator who has established the playbook of life. That playbook is incredibly simple. Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Carson demonstrates his understanding with his actions. It's really no different than his professional life; fans don't want talk, they demand production. Jesus expects action.
One of the first critical discussions I heard on talk radio about Carson was a debate why he would start a foundation before he was established as a success. The argument was twofold. Carson had enough to deal with as a new member of the National Football League, and why take on the expense and demands of a charity before you've hit a star's extraordinary large payday?
Carson's response was simple. Human need is ever present; why wait. Jesus didn't say to his disciples….get yourself established in a good way first and then use a little to help folks. Jesus commanded to give all, follow him and get involved.
Looking at the website, https://www.ao1foundation.org/ The AO1 Foundation has two main goals; providing outdoor experiences to children and developing a sports complex for children in one of the world's poorest countries, Haiti. The devision of his Foundation The Kingdom Crumb exists to feed everyone because we believe everyone has a need to be filled spiritually and/or physically.
They say a professional quarterback has a target on his back. Carson actually has two targets. One is part of his job. The other would be from skeptics who question his faith or motives. Mission work and bible studies aren't the usual career paths of today's elite athletes. It is however for a person who recognizes that all of his physical talents are a gift from God and his mission is to use them to make this world a better place. His witnessing can help Christianity take many steps forward, but Carson also knows that the Nay Sayers will crucify him if his motives are less than pure. He's a man who accepts a challenge regardless of how it is posed.
God doesn't favor any particular sports team. He gave athletes their incredible gifts which can be developed and used for good or bad. Some people become self-centered. No wonder their world collapses when age or injury stops making it all about them.
Take a moment to follow the progress of Carson's foundation, I have faith that his work is pure. He will help many, encourage others to do the same and continue his Godly mission long after his football career is over. Carson knows his mission on earth. He knows that he's playing out the game of life for an Audience of One. His ultimate, eternal reward will be the phrase "enter, good and faithful servant."
For the purpose of full disclosure, I was in contact with a representative of the AO1 foundation but did not interview or communicate with Carson Wentz himself. Nevertheless, knowing of his work gives us Hope.