The tragic death of former Lakers star Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others in January caused people to start thinking about their own mortality. Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr took a step further and said now is the time for people to make a decision on their salvation.
Carr spoke recently at Brave Church near Oakland, Calif., and, after sharing a bit about his relationship with Bryant and what he meant to him, he urged the congregation to not ignore the promise of salvation that’s been presented to them.
“I don’t want us to be the people that get swept away by the flood. I don’t want us to be the people that walk into somewhere we’re invited and leave without something we’ve been offered every single time,” Carr said. “You’ve been offered this free gift of salvation. You’ve been offered this free gift of God the Father, of Jesus Christ, to live in your heart and live in your life, to clean out the stuff that doesn’t need to be in it. Because if you continue to let that stuff fester, let me tell you what’s going to happen. You’re going to keep going month after month, year after year, until you find yourself at a place that is going to be so hard to get up from. The only thing you’re going to be able to do is turn to God
“You may be at a place right now where you think you can manage it — I can do this, I can do that. God is saying today — He sent me here to say this — today is the day to get it right. Now is the time to get those things right. Now is the day that we wash away all those things. Now is the day we wash away all those sins. Now is the day. Right now.”
Carr has been open about his relationship with Bryant, who he said reached out to him when he suffered an ankle injury in his rookie season.
He credited his own work ethic to the example Kobe set and called him his “favorite athlete of all time.”
After speaking about Bryant’s accomplishments, Carr shifted his focus to the fragility of life and the need for salvation.
“As the time went on, I began to think: all those championships, all those points, all that time in the gym, all those kind of things, that’s what he was called to do. He was called to do all those things,” Carr said. “But in that moment, in a split second, none of that mattered because he’s face-to-face with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
Carr said it was in that moment that it “really got real” for him.
“I began to search my heart, ‘Lord, is there anything that You need to get rid of in me, because when I stand before You I want to be as clean as I can be. When I stand before You, I want to be as right as I can be,’” he said. “Because in a moment, those five championships are a legacy that people can still talk about and watch highlights of, but in that moment for him, it meant nothing. He is instantly before God our Father having a conversation, just like we all will at some point or another.”