In 1994, the New York Rangers were in the Conference finals with the New Jersey Devils. They were down 3 games to 2 in a best of seven series, meaning they had to win the next two games in order to move on. The captain of the Rangers, Mark Messier, was under criticism for underperforming in the series. He had massive expectations on his shoulders, especially since he was one of the greatest players ever to play the game of hockey. Then, in the morning of the big game, he said something that would be remembered forever. He said to reporters, “I promise we will win tonight.” No player to that day had ever made such a bold claim to the entire world about such a huge game. He didn’t just tell one friend that he guaranteed they would win; he told everyone. It made headlines in the paper, and if nothing else, it increased the pressure on him tenfold. To make such a bold claim was to put yourself against public scrutiny, and if he failed to deliver on his promise, people would think he was a fool. It took tremendous courage and heart to make such a bold claim.
So what happened?
Going into the third period, Mark’s team was down 2-1, and then something historic happened. Mark scored 3 times, completing a hat trick and single-handedly ensuring his team won, forcing a game 7 that they would also win. You see, Mark didn’t just make a bold claim and then do nothing to deliver on his promise. He put forth every effort to ensure they won. He didn’t just talk the talk, but he walked the walk.
This relates to what Jesus has commanded us to do. He said at the end of Matthew, that we are to go out into the world and make disciples of all people. We are not to simply accept Jesus into our life and be done with it. We can’t tell God we love him and do nothing to show him we truly mean it. Just like Mark, if we simply proclaim to the world that we love God, but continue to live in sin, we are fools who are not staying true to what we said. In the book of James 2:14 it says that “faith without deeds is dead.” Talking about how we are Christians is not enough. God has commanded us to take up our cross and follow him, meaning we are to leave behind the life of sin we had before God, and live the way Jesus commanded us to live. I’m not saying we will live perfect lives, that’s impossible. But we are to do our best to love others and show the love of Jesus in our lives everyday. When we declare ourselves to be Christian, we are putting ourselves in a position where we are vulnerable to being criticised by others, just like Mark Messier was. It is up to us to show others how our God has changed our lives, so that other people will see the glory of God in us and understand the power our God has to change lives.
Stefan Hogg, OWI Youth/ Junior Leader