In 1993 Michigan faced North Carolina at the NCAA Men’s College Basketball championship game. With 11 seconds left in the game North Carolina led by 2 points. Michigan player Chris Webber was bringing the ball up the court with the hopes of being able to make a last-second effort to tie or win the game.
Webber faced a defensive trap and didn’t see any options to pass the ball or score. To avoid a steal or a delay of game Webber called time out. He planned to be able to bring the ball in from the sideline and set up a play to score after the timeout.
But Michigan had already used all their timeouts. The penalty for calling a timeout when none are left is a technical foul. So, North Carolina got the ball and went on to win the championship game.
In the heat of competition and the pressure of time expiring, the player just forgot they had no timeouts left. Watching at home or thinking about it later, it seems so silly. How could Webber make such a simple mistake that was so costly?
The fact is, it is easy to make such simple mistakes, especially when pressure and stress are high. Notice what the Bible says in Malachi 4:4, “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.”
It is a simple command: remember. The people of Israel were to think back to that great and frightening day when God covered Horeb in smoke and fire. That was the day when He gave to them His covenant – the Law. The people needed to remember because Malachi wanted them to understand the Law was not just a sweet moral sentiment. No, the Law was the way God wanted His people to live every day.
Christians today are also called to remember. Specifically, we are to take time to remember Jesus and His death and resurrection at Communion. It is crucial to make an effort to remember because we tend to relegate thoughts of God to Sunday at church or during our time of prayer and Bible reading.
However, remembering means taking the truth of Jesus through every moment of our life. We remember Jesus at work, in our homes, at meals, during times of recreation, and during times of difficulty.
Because of Chris Webber’s error, coaches have learned to remind their players of their timeouts – especially if the team no longer has timeouts. No one wants to pull another Webber!
In the same way, we can “coach” each other as Christians. We can remind each other of Jesus and His work to save us. Sometimes we need to remind each other to say no to sin – because Jesus saved us from sin. Sometimes we need to remind each other we don’t have to live in shame – because Jesus took our shame to the cross. Sometimes we need to remind each other to have hope – because Jesus is coming again in power to finish what He started in us. In the stress and pressure of life, we tend to forget these things – and we serve one another in love when we remind – and remember!
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Malachi 4:4-6.
See you Sunday,