GEORGE FOREMAN first won the World Heavyweight Championship boxing title in 1973 at the age of twenty-three. He was at the top of his game and in his prime when he defeated Joe Frazier that fateful day in Jamaica. A year later he lost his title to Muhammad Ali in their infamous bout in Kinshasa, Zaire, known as the "Rumble in the Jungle."
Foreman retired a few years later to pursue the career he'd always dreamed of. He became the pastor of a small church in Houston, Texas. Members said he was as fiery and powerful in the pulpit as he was in the ring. He used part of his boxing money to establish a youth center in Houston, and his church did its best to cover the rest of the expenses. But it wasn't long before financial resources dried up. The church struggled to keep the center alive. In 1987 Foreman surprised everyone by announcing his plans to save the youth center from bankruptcy. "I'm going to be heavyweight champion again," he said.
In spite of the jokes and jeers from the media and late-night comedians, Foreman set himself on a strict regimen of training. He had to start at the bottom, fighting little-known boxers and working his way back up the ranks. Though he was older, he'd never lost his ability to land an explosive punch and bring his opponent down, so his climb was quicker than expected. Before long, Foreman had become a serious contender for the top belt. After seven years of work, he finally had a shot at the title.
In 1994, at the age of 45, Foreman shocked the world by knocking out Michael Morrer to regain the World Heavyweight Championship title. He was the oldest man in history to do so. He used the money he made to save the center. The comedians were no longer laughing. From the beginning, Foreman attributed this feat to his faith in God and his belief that the Holy Spirit would supply him with the strength he needed.
"It doesn't matter what people say about you," Foreman said after the fight. "Look in the mirror and never put yourself down. Give yourself time and anything can be accomplished."
"I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need," writes Paul (Philippians 4:13). When God sets a task on your heart, all you have to do is believe that he can help you carry it out. His power is sufficient for all our needs in any given situation.
Embracing Eternity: Living Each Day with a Heart Toward Heaven.