Did you watch the Illinois vs. Arizona basketball game of the 2005 NCAA tournament in March 2005? Illinois was losing by fifteen points with only 2:50 seconds left. The coach had a meeting with the players to pump them up to continue to contend for the victory.
These players had gone 35-1 -- two wins from the championship game! How did they get to this moment?
It started in their childhood -- preparing. Years of training, developing skills and learning team work. In November, the team was brought together. They continued to train hard, study their opponents and earnestly struggle and agonize to get themselves physically and mentally in shape. They learned discipline. The Illinois players worked hard to know the game!
The university gave them the opportunity to represent the State of Illinois and the University of Illinois. Scholarships and roster position were awarded on the team. The school could have chosen other players but chose these players. They were entrusted with the responsibility to represent the school publicly to the best of their abilities. If they failed to prepare by knowing the game, studying the game and being disciplined to do their best, they would be benched or even removed from the team.
Back to the game, less than three minutes left to make a comeback! The opportunity to be national champions was slipping away. They put on a full court press, tightened their defense and used their God given talents – to hit 3 point shots. A steal, a score, a defensive stop, a score – less than a minute left they are down by 8…5…2 there ahead the buzzer goes off – they win!! Unbelievable comeback! The players, the crowd goes wild! How did they do it? They knew the game, they agonized over the game, they contended with all their ability to win the game.
But folks it is not over! Next year their will be more games and the next year and on and on -- games that need to be won. Someone needs to pass on to the new players, the next generation -- the opportunity to play, the knowledge of the game, and the discipline it takes to win the game. Aren’t the Word of God and the salvation of souls a far greater opportunity, a far greater knowledge, and a far greater responsibility?
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Jose R. Hernandez on Oct 18, 2000
As I prayed this week asking the Lord to give me the message for today, He brought me to the book of Jonah. Many people find this particular piece of scripture hard to believe, but we should not, for we know that nothing is impossible for our God.