But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 NRSV)

I believe Fran Tarkenton is a man with a feeling of closeness. Fran was for many years the scrambling quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings and before that the University of Georgia. He was one of the most prolific passers in NFL history.

The son of a minister, Tarkenton has always had a good sense of who he is. As one of his teammates on the Vikings once described him, he has "a stranglehold on reality." In a interview, Tarkenton revealed for the first time how he became the starting quarterback in college. The University of Georgia was playing the University of Texas. Tarkenton was the third-string quarterback on Georgia's team with no one predicting he would advance beyond that lowly position.

In this particular game Georgia was having a difficult time moving the ball. Indeed, late in the third quarter they did not have a single first down. Now they were backed up near their own end zone. It was third down. Suddenly, this young third-string quarterback started out onto the field. No one had told him to go into the game. However, no one tried to stop him either. The first-string quarterback saw Tarkenton heading to the huddle and assumed that the coach had decided to replace him, so he trotted off the field. Tarkenton took charge, led the team down the field for a touchdown, and the rest is history, as they say. He was started on one of the most remarkable careers the sports world has ever seen.

Can you imagine a player on a major college team having the chutspah to step out onto a field under those kind of circumstances? That's confidence! That's a feeling of closeness. You and I can operate with new confidence, new freedom, because we, too, have been chosen by God.

Dear Jesus, give me the freedom of confidence, because I'm one of your chosen. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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