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Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional - Wednesday, October 3, 2018

“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” — Luke 12: 21

Finish Strong

It was Game 7 with just under 10 minutes left in the third period. The Toronto Maple Leafs were up 4-1 against the Boston Bruins and had the game well in control. The Leafs hadn’t made the playoffs in nine years, one of the longest droughts in NHL history, and had been down 3-1 in the series.

Then Nathan Horton scored for the Bruins to make the score 4-2. No big deal. The Leafs still had a comfortable two-goal lead. With two minutes left, the Bruins pulled goalie Tuuka Rask for an extra attacker and 30 seconds later, Milan Lucic scored to make it 4-3. And then with a minute remaining, Patrice Bergeron scored to tie the game.

In overtime, Bergeron would complete the comeback for Bruins to win the series. It marked the first time in NHL history that a team trailing by three goals in the third period went on to win the game, and therefore the series. What had seemed like a sure win for the Leafs ended in crushing defeat.

As sports fans, we love to see our team with a comfortable lead. It takes away our anxieties and allows us to relax a little bit more while we talk smack to our friends, knowing we won’t have to eat our own words — at least for a little while. But for the most part no lead is safe in sports.

New England Patriots fans know this all too well. In the 2007 season, they had a perfect 18-0 record going into the Super Bowl and were heavily favored against the New York Giants. The Giants would go on to spoil their perfect season with a 17-14 victory. Nine years later, the Patriots would mount the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, coming back from 28-3 in the third quarter to win in overtime by a score of 31-28 against the Atlanta Falcons. 

The same way the Leafs, Patriots and Falcons developed a false sense of comfort from what seemed like insurmountable leads, we can develop a false sense of comfort from our earthly possessions and accomplishments. We believe our job, our house, our health or our status will give us peace of mind and security. But when these things are taken from us, we’re left with a feeling of disappointment and despair, wondering what happened and where we turn next.

Jesus says, “Don’t store up your treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in Heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy and thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).

As tempting as it is to place our security in our earthly blessings, we must always remind ourselves that everything we have comes from God for His glory. If you’re in a season of prosperity in your life, remember who your ultimate Provider is. Pray and ask God how you can use what He’s blessed you with to serve His Kingdom. Don’t sit back and defend the lead. Make sure you finish the game strong. 

Andrew Pepper

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