It was a dark day for West Virginia football. It was the seventh game of the 2005 season and the Mountaineers were trailing Louisville 24-7, when starting quarterback Adam Bednarik was injured. In came backup Pat White—and the rest, as they say, is history. White, along with fellow freshman Steve Slaton at running back, led a furious WVU comeback to defeat the Cardinals 46-44 in triple overtime; and West Virginia never looked back. White spent the rest of his career as the starter, leading the Old Gold and Blue to four consecutive bowls, including BCS bowl victories over Georgia and Oklahoma. Additionally, Pat finished his collegiate career as the top rushing quarterback in college history. And it all began when the WVU game was changed by the insertion of a freshman from Daphne, Alabama. Pat White will certainly go down as one of the greatest game-changers in WVU football history, not to mention one of their greatest-ever players.
As followers of Christ, we also have the opportunity to become game-changers in the lives of others. The most notable way we can have this kind of impact, of course, is by introducing people to our Savior. Paul described this as an eternal game-changing move by saying:
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20).
We become God’s game changers reaching out to others, that the grace, mercy, and love of God would be their eternal experience and that they would go from being alienated from God to being adopted into His family. Notice how active this is: God pleads through us. We implore on Christ’s behalf. All of this to see those who are far from God reconciled and right with Him.
We can also be game changers in relationships with others. Paul sought to be that kind of reconciling influence in restoring two women in the church at Philippi who were at odds with one another by pleading:
I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life (Phil. 4:2-3).
Notice that he not only gets involved in their quarrel, but he also enlists his “true companion,” an unnamed follower of Christ, to help in the process of healing and restoration.
Seeing people brought into relationship with God is the ultimate game-changer. And seeing conflict resolved between fellow believers can change the game not only for them, but for the work of the kingdom. We can go and do likewise, knowing that making a positive and healthy difference in the lives of other people is the greatest way to change the game around us—and them.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain