I don’t know Stephen and Lynn Ash, but I have a feeling that they must be doing something right indeed. A middle school principal in Little River, Texas–population 1,994 — Stephen is the father of six kids and he and his wife have apparently raised them all–without television, by the way–to love the Lord.
One of their sons, David, is now in college where he happens to be the starting quarterback for the University of Texas Longhorns. And just this week, he was asked by the media about his counterpart over at Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel.
Now, just to put things in perspective, at least as the Houston Chronicle has reported it, David has “never even come close to winning the Heisman Trophy,” nor has he helped UT beat the number one team in the country, or led the Longhorns to a Top Ten finish. But in what must be a rarity in some college circles, he’s also a tee-totaling T-sip who doesn’t drink, tweet, or even go to the movies, much less hang out with rap stars like “Johnny Football” has done.
Nevertheless, when reporters asked him if he was glad that he was not having to deal with NCAA investigators and probes into autograph-signing questions like Manziel does, his response was an interesting one. According to the Chronicle, in fact, Ash replied by saying, “My answer is, ‘by the grace of God.'”
He then went on to say, “I don’t know Johnny Manziel personally, but I do know college football players are regular people and they have their problems. And Johnny Manziel, he seems like a nice guy. There’s a lot of pressure, a lot of things that can go wrong in your life. And probably not very many people are interested to know what that is, or what’s going on. Johnny, I just wish him the best. He’s a great football player. For me, it’s only by the grace of God I haven’t taken that path– I’ve been blessed with great parents…and a great community in Austin.”
At the ripe old age of just 21, Stephen and Lynn’s boy David has figured out that if you’ve been blessed—by either talent or circumstances– that it’s not really so that you can market your gifts and enjoy your fame and fortune. Rather, it’s all about grace and recognizing that whatever advantages we may have are from God who expects us, in turn, to use them wisely.
Likewise, anytime someone is willing to publicly credit God with helping them to make the right decisions in life I can’t help but think that out of their mouths God has indeed perfected His praise (Matthew 21.16).
It’s all enough to make a UT fan out of a pretty dyed-in-the-red-and-blue-wool SMU grad.
But then some would say that was by the grace of God as well.