August 2, 2008 is a memorable day for me. I was never that big of an Art Monk fan (simply because there were other NFL players I grew up rooting for), but when he received his induction into the NFL Hall of Fame and gave his acceptance speech on ESPN that evening, there was only one thing I could do: Praise God.
This by far was the boldest speech I had ever heard. Given by a Christian, who understood the real meaning of the word, “Christian”.
Art Monk came out and told the American people that it was because of Jesus Christ that he is who he is today, and he achieved everything that he did in pro football, only because of God.
Art Monk displayed real humility and real gratitude to God. Wow, what a person to have your children look up to. Only if there were a lot more real life Heroes in America – especially in professional sports—that our children could look up to as role models.
Art Monk’s speech was bold. And it came I’m sure from “out of nowhere”.
It was as if he was speaking the very words of God, because in the Bible when the people hear God’s Word in mass, it’s because God is moving, and God is at work.
Art Monk spoke the Word of God that day.
“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.”
Hold on a moment, what is God doing today, on ESPN, with Art Monk? What chapter is God opening in the history of civilization, and here in America?
Art Monk gave his speech knowing that there are a lot of people in America, even in the NFL, that don’t want anything to do with Jesus Christ, or what he teaches, and what he stands for.
Art Monk was fearless. He spoke as one with authority - on ESPN of all places.
Just as the early Christians stood up in the streets of Jerusalem, uneducated men with no significant background, suddenly boldly proclaiming the Word of God, and many today wonder how Christianity could have spread like wildfire. You had to be there.
What Art Monk said that day blows away anything that I could try to write to capture the moment.
You can’t paraphrase the impact Art Monk made on national television. You had to be there. Even if it was watching the moment live on ESPN. Knowing that it was live, and knowing that millions may be watching right at that moment, increased the impact.
As hardcore NFL fans across America heard this speech, just maybe for a moment they stopped swearing, and bickering, and complaining, and hating God by the way they lived their lives, and for a moment maybe they just listened.
Perhaps not that day they decided to bow their heads in prayer, and finally seek Jesus for all of life’s answers —forgiveness for their lives of sin and escape from the wrath of God in Hell, as well as the eternal gift of life in Heaven—but perhaps in later weeks some would receive that call above, that call that only comes from God, and find that day when Jesus Christ becomes Lord and savior of their life.
Is today the day you get the call? Ask God to make Jesus Christ Lord and Savior of your life. Seek real faith from a sincerity to know and experience the truth. Receive real forgiveness and new life in Christ.
As Art Monk boldly quoted Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
I’ll forever remember these words.