Jim Denison on Kyler Murray and the Importance of Finishing Well

The Arizona Cardinals made Kyler Murray the first pick in last night’s NFL draft. Murray is the first player to be selected in the first round by both the National Football League and Major League Baseball. (He was drafted ninth by the Oakland Athletics last June.)

Murray is obviously an amazing athlete, but the history of first picks in the NFL is not entirely encouraging.

The first player ever drafted in the NFL was Jay Berwanger in 1936. The team would not agree to his contract terms, so he never played a down in the league. Tom Cousineau was the first overall pick in 1979, but he chose to play in Canada instead and never played for the team that drafted him.

Steve Emtman was drafted first in 1992, but injuries cut short his career. Same for Ki-Jana Carter, drafted first in 1995, and for Courtney Brown, drafted first in 2000.

This trend shows that it’s not where you’re drafted but how long and well you play that counts. The same is true in life.


I attended an event in Dallas yesterday morning featuring New York Times columnist and bestselling author David Brooks. I have admired Brooks’ work for years and consider him one of the most significant public intellectuals in America today.

Brooks spent much of his time discussing the shift in culture he has witnessed. In the 1950s, American life was communal. People lived in neighborhoods in which they did life together. Family, church, and collective rituals such as baptisms, weddings, and other life passages framed our experience.

In the 1960s, we shifted from “us” to “me.” Truth is what I say it is; morality is what works for me without harming you.

According to Brooks, we’ve now “run out the string” on self-centered living and are facing an epidemic of loneliness as a result. The opioid crisis, escalating suicide rates, and plethora of social ills we face are symptoms of this underlying disease.


In response to the need for meaning in a culture that is adrift, Brooks invited us to live for others in community. Find a way to be rooted to place and people. We cannot do life on our own or find meaning in ourselves.

This commitment to community is essential for others but for us as well. Brooks quoted a friend’s observation: “You cannot only clean the part of the pool you swim in.” What happens to you happens to us all.

Brooks’ latest book, The Second Mountain, is a metaphor for his theme. The “first mountain” is success, measured by popularity and possessions. But climbing this “mountain” never fulfills us.

So, we climb down into the valley and, hopefully, up the “second mountain” of significance. We learn to give more than we get, to serve more than we are served.

In other words, we live long enough to discover how to live best.

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Source: Christian Headlines