Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Art Monk's testimony at the Hall of Fame

Saturday night I happened to catch a few minutes of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony (broadcast on ESPN). The last NFL player, and probably the "class of the class" to be inducted was Art Monk, a wide receiver who spent most of his career with the Washington Redskins.

What I didn't know about Art Monk is that he is apparently a strong Christian who strives to use his position as a witness for Christ. His testimony was awesome, and he gave it at the ceremony in front of thousands of football fans, broadcast live on ESPN. If you want to watch the whole thing (18 minutes), you can find it here on the NFL site (sorry, I couldn't find a shorter clip with just the good stuff). There's also a transcript of the whole thing here; I'll just give a couple of highlights.

First, Art was introduced by his son, James:
Dad's greatness never came from his ability to play football, but it came because he wanted to be used by God for his glory, above all.

He realized and held onto the gifts and talents that God blessed him with. And the Bible says to build your foundation on a rock. Solid rock. For when the storm comes, you will not shake or you will not be moved for your foundation is well built.

Dad built his foundation on the strongest rock of all and that was Jesus Christ.

And because of this he was able to weather many storms and stay consistently strong on the football field, at home, at church, and at work. And from his actions I have learned the following: I've learned that less is more. I've learned not only to become a man of success, but be a man of value; that my decisions should be guided by Christian principles.

It is not hard to make the right decision when you know your value and where you stand. Through the outcomes of hard work and dedication is success. That there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ.

That the reward for hard work is the opportunity to do more. Nobody gets anywhere in this world by just being content with where you are. And that my identity does not come from this world or what people say or write or think about you, but it comes from the one and only Jesus Christ.

After a 4-minute standing ovation, Art Monk finally managed to say a few words:
And even now as a Hall of Famer, the one thing I want to make very clear is that my identity and my security is found in the Lord. And what defines me and my validation comes in having accepted his son Jesus Christ as my personal savior. And what defines me is the word of God and it's the word of God that will continue to shape and mold me into the person that I know he's called me to be.

So I've learned a long time ago never to put my faith or trust in man, for man will always fail you. Man will always disappoint you. But the word of God says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. And he will never fail you.

And that is what I live by and what I stand on...

But I understand and I know that I'm here not by in and of my own strength but it's by the grace and the power of God upon my life who I know gave me favor along the way and who provided opportunity and room for me to use my gifts.

So I am very grateful to receive this honor, and I can stand here before you and say, hey, look at me, look what I did. But if I'm going to boast, I'm going to boast today in the Lord, for it's because of him that I'm here and I give him thanks and glory and honor for all that he has done for me.

He goes on to talk about his teammates who shared the gospel with him and led him to Christ, and his family as a blessing from the Lord. I just have to say, how awesome to hear him stand up and speak so strongly for Jesus Christ, and how amazing that it was broadcast coast-to-coast!

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