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Whittle by Whittle
by Tom Goodman
January 12, 2005
The longest run for the leading ball carrier in the NFL was only 25 yards. On average, he made only 4.6 yards per carry. But Curtis Martin kept moving forward, and the season ended with Martin at the top of the stats. At 31, he’s also the oldest of this year’s top five rushing champions. Altogether, Martin’s performance puts him sixth on the list of all-time leading rushers, with 13,336 yards.
He achieved the standing not through spectacular runs but through consistently coming through for his team. Austin resident and nationally-recognized journalist Marvin Olasky described a typical Martin performance: “Over right guard for 1 yard. Up the middle for 2 yards. Over right tackle for 1 yard. Over left guard for 1 yard. Over right guard for 4 yards. Over right tackle for 8 yards. Over left tackle for 7 yards. Over left guard for 9 yards.” That’s how Martin amassed nearly 1700 yards to become this year’s rushing champ.
Jets coach Herman Edwards simply says, “Curtis Martin understands how to work.” Martin says the same thing: “I've learned to work hard, be diligent, and have strong faith.” Mr. Martin proclaimed his faith in Christ in 1993 and has a reputation for authenticity and consistency.
Imagine that: you never saw this year’s leading rusher in one of Chris Berman’s “Top Ten Plays of the Week,” because his longest run was just 25 yards. But through grinding consistency, he delivered for his team. He’s one of the reasons the Jets are in postseason play. They face the favored Steelers in divisional playoff this Saturday.
Most of us don’t fall in the “spectacular” category. I don’t. Martin is one of those inspiring examples that remind us that hard work, consistency, and relentless progress pays off. If you’ve been feeling like your little efforts really aren’t adding up to anything significant, remember Curtis Martin.
Someone said that life is like a woodcarving: it takes place whittle by whittle. Let’s keep working toward that time we finally hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
That’s the Winning Way.
For more information about Curtis Martin, read “Perseverance of the Jets” by Marvin Olasky at www.worldmag.com/subscriber/displayarticle.cfm?id=10023.
You can look forward to David Smith in the pulpit this Sunday morning and evening. I will be in my former community of Grand Cayman with a building team from our church. Pray for our trip while you worship together at
Hillcrest this week!
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