Mick’s Memo – Who Do You Play For?
One of the most shocking results in sports history was the “Miracle on Ice”, later the basis for a Disney movie about the USA Men’s Olympic hockey team winning the gold medal in the 1980 winter games. The Soviet hockey team was considered unbeatable after 16 years of dominance over all forms of hockey—amateur and professional. Three days before the Olympics started, the Soviets beat the USA team by an embarrassing score of 10-3 in an exhibition at Madison Square Garden. After fighting their way into the semi-finals with a last second tie and a string of come-from-behind victories, the USA team faced off with the Soviets in the semifinal round. They took an improbable, “miraculous” 4-3 win and followed it up with another come from behind victory in the final.
In the months leading up to the Olympics, the team coach, Herb Brooks, bonded the team through harsh physical training and by making himself a “common enemy” of the players. From the beginning he asked them “Who do you play for?”. They all replied with their college team names. Finally, months into their preparations, they were being punished after an exhibition game in Norway where they had been less than focused on their game. When they were all ready to collapse, the team Captain, Mike Eruzione, dramatically called out his name and announced that he played for “the United States of America”; no mention of his college team. Coach Brooks had made his breakthrough.
Origins matter. It answers the question, “Who do you live for?”. If we are no more than walking biological blobs of chemicals, then the rest of life is completely different than if we are beings created by and for the Creator. Biology can’t give our life significance, value or meaning. Biology can give us no boundaries for right and wrong. Biology offers no destiny for life beyond decay. Biology we can see, measure and analyze, it takes no faith, just senses. Living for the Creator takes faith in unseen reality that goes beyond empirical evidence.
God wants us to be certain of “who we play for”. He has a design for us and a plan for human history that offers fulfillment and eternal hope for us. He also, like coach Brooks, is waiting for us to realize the great privilege it is for us to be part of His team instead of playing the game of life solo, with no purpose beyond self. Our new series will be looking at the kind of faith that it takes to be part of God’s team from Hebrews 11.
Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!