Ben Utecht, tight end for the Indianapolis Colts, recently spoke during chapel convocation on his testimony in life and on surrendering to God everyday “I am here today not as a football player but as a Christian,” said Utecht. Utecht brought a message that challenged chapel attendees to find the true meaning of surrender and how to look at our own experiences to see what God is trying to tell us individually.
“Surrendering is not a weakness or a passive act… but an active choice to run after God and to give everything to Him,” said Utecht.
Utecht recalled throughout high school in Minnesota, he lived life as the perfect, role-model Christian from a family where his father was a minister. But he felt his “heart was unprepared” for college and he recollected many times where God was far from him. He believes while at the University of Minnesota (on a four year scholarship) he “took for granted what being a Christian meant” and how important Christ was to him.
“Our biggest problem is ‘self’… everything revolves around ‘us.’” Utecht also recalls his life was being ruled by sin through his actions and because of his “blindness” to what God was trying to tell him, through his choices and injuries, he strayed.
During his last two years in college, Utecht said he was on the road to destruction and was seeing everything in a “gray area.” He recalls his life changed completely after he broke his foot during his junior year football season when he was the number two tight-end in the country. “I felt abandoned by God… but I was abandoning him.”
But through this time, he broke down and prayed for confirmation and remembers his daily scripture quoted Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
“I emptied myself for God” and has made it a continued process each day by surrendering all and not making it all about him.
Though he loves playing football, Utecht let attendees in on his “secret dream” of being on American Idol and sang “Amazing Grace” after many students started yelling out for him to sing. Many may be surprised to learn that along with football, he is also an award-winning vocalist who has performed for two U.S. Presidents and numerous professional sporting events.
Because of his passion of singing, Utecht announced at the end of chapel he was to sing a Jeremy Camp song for students when Utecht’s friend, Jeremy Camp himself, came out to sing for a surprise visit.
Before joining the Indianapolis Colts in 2004, Utecht received a four-year scholarship to the University of Minnesota, where he started as a tight end all four years and served as team captain in 2003. But he didn’t stop singing. His leadership role and musical involvement in Fellowship of Christian Athletes during college brought together his love for sports, music and his love for Christ.Anderson University (Anderson, Indiana) is a private, four-year, Christian liberal arts university of approximately 2,800 undergraduate and graduate students. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, the university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs of study in theology, business, music, nursing and education.
— Writer Stefanie Leiter is the editor of the Anderson University Web site in the AU Office of Communications.