Ed Thomas: The impact of a Christ-centered life

Today, the people of Parkersburg and Applington, IA, will celebrate the life and mourn the death of a man who, by all reports, was a giant. To be fair, I did not know Ed Thomas or any member of his family, but when everything I read, even in the Des Moines Register, points to his faith as his first and foremost priority, I can’t help but take notice. For example, from desmoinesregister.com last night:

“When you remember Ed Thomas, remember this: football was fourth on the depth chart. Servant of the Lord, loving husband, dutiful father, coach. In that order.”

The overwhelmingly dominant theme in every interview I’ve seen, from the local television news to the national network shows, emphasizes the fact that this man was a positive role model who challenged his students, players, and everyone else to live a life of character and integrity. And when the line for the visitation extended five blocks and several hours, and the list of people waiting in it included everyone from rival football coaches to NFL players to Senator Charles Grassley – who himself stood in line for more than three hours to get in – you realize that this man made an impact.

Truly, a Christ-centered life will make an impact. Now, that impact might not always be marked by such a media frenzy as Mr. Thomas’ has been for the past week, and it might not be as universally popular as that of a winning football coach. But it will make a difference. That’s the whole point.

So, if there’s one thing that I take from the life of Ed Thomas, it’s simply this. Get your priorities straight. Live a life that makes Jesus first and everything else secondary, and you will make an impact.


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