My Danny Wuerffel Moment

In this short piece, you are going to hear about three stories, all true.

His Story

Danny Wuerffel was the winner of the 1996 Heisman Trophy and star quarterback on the University of Florida football team.  In the 1996 national collegiate championship against Florida State, in the last minutes of the fourth quarter, Wuerffel threw an incredible pass that won the game and the championship.  Immediately after the game, the national news media thrust a mike in his face and asked him what it was like to throw that pass and win the national championship game. 

Without missing a beat, Wuerffel replied that he gives all the glory to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all that he is able to do.  The news media immediately switched to another announcer, but it was too late.  Danny Wuerffel’s witness to the Lord was broadcast on national television.

My Story

This is really a story of how not to do things, but I feel the Lord wants me to share it with you anyway.  The year was 2016, and I was employed by the University of Arkansas as a Community Development Specialist.  A colleague nominated me for a top national award in our national professional society.  To my utter surprise, I was selected and invited to come to the national conference to receive the award at the annual banquet.

Over the years I had gotten to know many colleagues from Arkansas and other states, and we have always gotten along well as professional colleagues.  I also came to the conclusion that most are not Christians, but come out of a social science background that is perhaps secular, universalist, naturalist, Marxist, or New Age.  Many would describe themselves to be “spiritual” but not “religious”, which I understand means they have some sense of God and eternity, but do not identify with one particular religion such as Christianity, Buddhism, or Islam. 

As the day approached and I traveled to the national conference, I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to speak out at this event, to state that our nation is in trouble, and unless we repent, we will face God’s judgement. 

This is the last thing in the world I wanted to do, as I knew how it would be received by my friends and colleagues.  As the other award winners were announced, they were not given an opportunity to speak, so I rationalized that there would not be such an opportunity for me to speak either, and I was off the hook.

Then I realized that the awardee before me was given a chance to say a few words, which he did, thanking his friends and colleagues for their support.  Then it was my turn.  I realized it was time to put up or shut up, so I gulped and blurted out thanks to my friends and colleagues and especially my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Furthermore, that our nation is facing great challenges, and if we do not repent and turn back to the Lord, our nation will face severe crises and judgement.

I did it!  I couldn’t believe I did it, but I did, and I thank the Lord for the courage He gave me at that moment.  I was relieved it was over, and pleased that a few people came up to me when the event was over to talk about the Lord and our nation. 

This is how the Lord works – He asks us to give up worldly things for a life in Christ, here and in eternity.  But He won’t force us to do so.

After meeting Christ on the road to Damascus, Saul, the “Hebrew of Hebrews”, gladly gave up everything to follow Christ.  He even called his worldly achievements “rubbish”, that he may gain Christ.

My reluctant witness was the opposite of the apostle Paul, boldly preaching Jesus Christ to Jews, Gentiles, Greeks, Romans, and high government officials, ready to face stoning, beatings, and even death.  He had a clear and strong conviction that he was a child of God and an ambassador of Christ sent to witness the life-saving Gospel to an alien and pagan culture, before the Lord would take him home.  Now that’s what we (I) should aspire to do and become!

Your Story

Now it is your turn.  Each of us will have our Danny Wuerffel moments – opportunities to witness to our Lord, to speak the truth and love of Jesus Christ into the lives of those who come across our path.  Just think – some time in the near future you are in some setting with family, friends, neighbors, or even the guy at the local dry cleaners, and the conversation turns to what is happening in that person’s life or in the world.  Will you witness to our Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that it might be a divine appointment from the Lord? 

Do you remember how Mordecai encouraged Queen Esther, asking her in effect, have you not come into the kingdom as queen for this very purpose?

Each of us was created to be alive at this time; let us not waste these moments, for they will not come around again, and the eternal destiny of those around us may depend upon our response.

To God be the glory

Mark Peterson

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