What Made The All-American Football Player, Brandon Burlsworth So Great?

The life and death of Arkansas Razorback walk-on, Brandon Burlsworth is memorialized in the movie “Greater” and is a brilliant blend of spiritual and intellectual inspiration. Brandon had a dream to play football for the Arkansas Razorbacks football team. Brandon had no money, no scholarship, was significantly overweight, and was mercilessly teased about his faith in God and his love for his mamma. In spite of these odds, Brandon not only ended up making first team All-American, but was chosen by the Indianapolis Colts in the 3rd round of the NFL draft.

Brandon Burlsworth is known as one of the greatest walk-on players in the history of college football.

But his story isn’t great just because of his accomplishments on the football field; it’s great because of the people he touched and is STILL touching. Before he had the chance to play for the Indianapolis Colts, he tragically died in a car accident. Brandon was only 22 years old. Brandon’s story provokes the question: “Why would God allow this to happen to someone who had worked so hard, lived with such great faith, and inspired so many people?” While no one can provide a satisfactory answer, there is one answer that gives us MUCH hope. Because Brandon lived for Jesus, his life didn’t end with his death—he is STILL touching and inspiring people!

In reflection of that hope, Brandon’s family chose an epitaph for his tombstone that says: 

“Our loss is great; but our God is greater.” 

Brandon’s life was great—but not because of football. Football was his mission field for God’s glory. His faith wasn’t manifested only in what he SAID—it was how he LIVED and the essence of WHO he was. His relationship with God was reflected in his daily interactions. He had respect for his coaches, love for his family, and even love for his teammates who, at first, had no respect or love for him. God’s Spirit was reflected in his humility, his huge heart, how he owned his mistakes, and his absolute determination to succeed. He was unafraid to let others see His love for God. His transparency—eventually transformed even the lives of his teammates and continues to impact everyone who reads his story or watches the movie about his life. 

Brandon’s tragic and untimely death placed his story in the limelight and put his story on a trajectory to influence even those who never knew him.

Brandon’s life inspires me to ask myself: “What am I doing today that will still influence others for eternity after I am no longer here?” We are all going to die. But as long as we are alive, each day is an extraordinary opportunity to write an eternal story. 

WHAT will we do with today?

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭16‬ ‬‬

We would love to hear your thoughts about this devotional. Did God speak to you or challenge your daily walk with him? Or is there a topic that you would like Kimberly to cover or expound on? Please share with us in the comments below.

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