Monday, November 02, 2009

Reggie White - A Tribute to a Giant

Reginald Howard White towered over men in more ways than one.

Physically he was lean, stood 6' 5" and weighed over 300 pounds. Elected to 13 straight Pro Bowls for his many records for sacking the quarterback, Reggie became one of the greatest pass rushers the NFL ever knew. In 2006 they enshrined him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

His leadership qualities paralleled his physical strength. Well before his football career, at only 17 years of age, Reggie became an ordained minister. He would preach confidently to whomever would listen. His football chums called him "the minister of defense".

But his real strength was his strength of character. After he retired from football, he began to study the original Bible. He sensed translations distort this truth, so he bypassed them and delved into studying the Bible's original language, Hebrew. He engrossed in its study, sometimes 9 hours a day. His diligence paid off; Eventually he could take up the original Torah and translate it for himself - an amazing feat for a late starter, a self-starter, in Biblical Hebrew no less. Many Jews, let alone a Gentile, do not share this ability.

He found the King James Bible often misquoted Torah and took portions out of context. He found words were added or removed or improperly translated. He would always discuss these distortions with his wife, Sara, and kids, Jecolia and Jeremy.

The more he studied, the more Torah intrigued him. The more he probed, the greater became his dismay of the past. Now he knew what he had preached as truth to people had been untrue. He felt he had cheated them. He felt sorry he raised funds for churches not true to God. His wife Sara said, “Pastors were intimidated by Reggie because Reggie knew the truth, and they knew he knew the truth.”

The more the family got involved with Torah, the more they rejected the customs they inherited. Dramatic changes ensued. They began to shake off anything that smacked of idolatry. If someone asked him, "What's your religion", he'd respond, "I'm a believer".

His family shared Reggie's spiritual journey. They felt uplifted. They became a tighter family unit. He and Sara traveled to Israel twice.

When Reggie died prematurely at the age of 43, the family held together, buttressed by their new-found beliefs. Sara said, “We got close to God and to each other … Reggie lived the years that were allotted to him to the fullest. What matters is not how long we live, but what we do while we live. He was looking for the Father, and the Father said, ‘Come home.’”

Visiting his grave site recently, she said, “Your passion was honoring God, your passion was learning Hebrew, your passion was teaching the word of God. If I can get that message across to people I think I can honor you because you accomplished so much off the field that most people can only dream about.”

Much more about this man can be learned below:
video
(Thank you to Bonnie Williamson for helping me put together the facts.)

ADDENDUM: Here's where the lionhearted rests:

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