By Chad Bonham
2011 NHL Draft (June 25, 2011)
When Rocco Grimaldi was 12 years old, his family moved from California to Michigan so he could play against a higher level of youth hockey competition in his pursuit of becoming a professional athlete. It was a bold move that paid off when the Florida Panthers selected Grimaldi with the 33rd overall pick in the second round of the 2011 NHL Draft.
But it was boldness in another area of life that caused some to wonder why the young prospect wasn’t chosen in the first round as expected. Some reporters caught wind of teams being concerned about Grimaldi’s consistent quoting of Bible verses during interviews and on social media.
That didn’t stop Grimaldi from continuing the practice following the NHL Draft’s opening night.
“Let me encourage you this morning,” he posted to his Twitter account. “When something doesn’t go the way you think it’s going to go, praise God even more. Just know that He is up to something bigger and greater than you can imagine.”
At the end of that tweet, he referenced a Bible verse that supported what he was trying to convey.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)
“I try to put positive messages out there and keep my head up,” Grimaldi explained after being drafted. “Like last night, it was a little disappointing for me, but I came back with my head high. That can be a good example for people going through hard times, that it’s going to work out in the end.”
Grimaldi later revealed in a piece written for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) that another New Testament verse inspired him to use his platform to share the Bible with hockey fans.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)
“Whether it’s something I say or how I act, I have to reflect Christ,” he said. “I’m not going to be afraid to say something or be afraid of people criticizing me or putting me down for my faith.”
And even when he’s on the ice and doesn’t have access to social media or isn’t being interviewed by traditional media outlets, Grimaldi has found a way to share Bible verses in a unique way, through a Bible reference that’s stitched on the back of his right skate.
“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7)
It’s an appropriate verse for an athlete who stands 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs less than 165 pounds and who, like the biblical character David (the person being talked about in that passage), was known for taking on some huge challenges—namely the defeat of the giant Philistine, warrior Goliath.
“I trust my ability,” Grimaldi told the Tampa Bay Times. “I know what I can do. Every day I go to the rink, I work hard and try to outwork everybody else. People think size is a disadvantage, but it is what drives me more. It’s not going to hold me back.”
This devotional is brought to you by Museum of the Bible, a 430,000 square foot museum being constructed 3 blocks south of the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. and is set to open in November of 2017.