The U of M men’s basketball team has found their way back to the Final Four for the first time since I was 12 years old. As an avid University of Michigan fan, I found myself screaming at the TV during the epic comeback against Kansas and jumping up and down as the clock wound down against Florida, the buzzer sounded, and the celebration commenced. On the contrary, my friend and Torch co-founder Kelly is, sadly, an MSU Spartan fan. Granted she did attend college there, but one would have thought she would have seen the light by now and crossed over from the dark side (the losing side) to the winning side stamped with a block M embossed in maize. My love for U of M is rivaled by Kelly’s hatred for them. She recently told me she will NOT be cheering for Michigan during the final four! While I respect her loyalty to her team, it just left me laughing and shaking my head and prouder to be a Michigan Wolverine.
My conversation with Kelly also left me wondering about how different the world would be, how different my own community would be, if we had as much passion for those in poverty: the homeless; the hungry; the hurting; as we have for our favorite sports teams? What if we got so zealous about making a difference we did not stop trying until we were confident we left no stone unturned? What if we took care of our hurting neighbors the same way we take care of ourselves…or even more drastic, we took BETTER care of them? What if we were so dedicated to making a difference to those around us we skipped a meal out and instead used that money to purchase groceries for a single mom? What if in place of going to the spa to get our nails done, we bought a gas card for a wounded Veteran? What if instead of (GASP) going fishing, on vacation, to an amusement park, or even to the movies, we donated the money to a charity that is committed to making a difference?
Some people, maybe most, would call this fanatical and would not even entertain the thought. But what if we stopped blaming the government and the schools and the weather and our bad genetics and started taking responsibility for each other and the shape our city is in? When was the last time you earnestly prayed for the spiritual health of your city? Imagine what would happen if people all over your city, and the United States, would be obedient to God’s Word, humble themselves and pray. Think what walls would tumble down, what power would be released, and what help and grace would be extended if Christians in your city would kneel before God and claim His promises! Yes, claim them, make them their own, and speak them with confidence. I'm talking about promises such as God saying He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8) and that He is our help in time of need as stated in Hebrews 4:16. A great example of saying enough is enough, is found in Nehemiah. He saw what was taking place in his town, was repulsed by it, and said – NO MORE! He humbly, yet boldly, confessed his own wrong doings and sins and then prayed for his town. And amazing things happened.
I am challenging you to step out in faith. To take a look around you and ask God to lay a heavy burden for your city on your heart; a burden which is so heavy it breaks it – even shatters it. People all around you are in need and you can be the solution; you can be the miracle they require. I dare you to have your heart broken for those in need! I dare you to take a deep breath, scream at the problems of the world, and then to become part of the solution.
According to Ken Pomeroy, with 2:33 remaining in the game, Kansas' probability of winning the game was 99.4%. The Wolverines didn't get the memo though, or care about the score board. The fought hard, overcame adversity and for the first time in 19 years are back in the Final Four.
What if we, as Christians, got back on track and loved others the way God intended for us too. What if we refused to lose, regardless of the odds given, and scrapped and clawed until we overcame? What if we carried The Torch for each other and hated poverty and injustice the same way a Spartan fan hates the Wolverines? Step out in faith....0.6% chance of winning....faith as small as a mustard seed....can move mountains.