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Real Answers™
Copyright: © 2009 Gary Hardaway
650 words


By:  Gary Hardaway

A couple of years ago I picked up a seasonal Christmas job at a warehouse, working alongside a couple of college students. Both were quick learners who had no trouble with the required job skills. They were easy to get along with, and we had fun joking around, making fun of each other. I usually lost in the war of wits.

Now and then some serious matters arose. One Monday morning one of the guys didn’t show up. He was back to work Tuesday, not looking well. He had spent the weekend binge drinking and was still suffering effects of a hangover.

Statistics indicate that 42 to 44% of college students regularly drink themselves into a stupor. Why, one wonders, would an otherwise fairly sensible, sane individual deliberately render himself physically nauseous, intellectually dysfunctional, and emotionally numb? It seems strange to me. In fact my young friend was not at all pleased with himself. It didn’t make sense to him either.

As our busy work season wound down, I decided to give both guys a Christmas present. Since they were both avid sports fans, I thought Tony Dungy’s bestseller, Quiet Strength, would fit the bill just fine.


Tony’s life, career, and personal character command tremendous respect from all who know him. As a highly successful coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then the Indianapolis Colts, Tony ranks among the all-time best NFL coaches. In 2007 he guided the Colts to victory over the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl. The win climaxed a brilliant season on the field, but was privately overshadowed by the immense tragedy of the suicide of Tony’s teenage son, James.

Quiet Strength is not primarily a sports story. It is a powerful testimony of Dungy’s deep Christian faith that motivates and sustains him through the best and worst of times. Unlike some celebrities, whose endorsements “for Jesus” seem trite and superficial, Dungy reads the whole Bible once a year and seeks to apply it to all issues of life.

His thorough knowledge of Scripture is evident, not only in his writing but in his motivational conversations with players. According to one reviewer, “He is active in many ministries and organizations and is constantly investing himself in other people’s lives. He uses his fame, as much as he can, to bring glory to God.”

That’s the kind of book I like to give to my young friends who may not understand why God brought them into being and gave them the privilege of living. Until they find more meaning in life, they will most likely waste their time and talents on trivial diversions – or self-destructive vices.

Through outstanding examples, many  – especially young people – can discover why they exist. They can gain new insight into their own significance in the world.  In Tony Dungy they encounter one highly inspiring role model. But the real hero of Tony Dungy’s life story is Jesus Christ himself. Though Tony is an inspiring role mode, Jesus is the one who inspires and mentors him.

Sadly, many teens and young adults know next to nothing about this hero. Their education has ignored him. Some of their professors express contempt for him and his followers. These students have grown up spiritually and intellectually deprived. 

Their deficit could be remedied by studying the Gospels of the Bible – if they would take the trouble to read them. They would be challenged by remarkable statements like:


  • No one ever spoke like this man does.
  • I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.
  • I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.


However, if the chances are slim to none that your young co-worker or neighbor won’t read the Bible, give him or her the next best thing: a true-life story that reveals dynamic faith.

Given any good books lately?

Gary Hardaway, a regular contributor to the Amy Internet Syndicate, directs Summit School of Ministry in Bellingham, WA.

"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091;

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