Murray State University students and alumni in Murray and around the country continue to celebrate the stunning defeat of Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA Division I Tournament yesterday. Murray’s consistent and controlled game gave them a small lead after the first half. Vanderbilt rushed back in the second half and had a one point lead with 4.2 seconds left in the game. With only one second left on the clock, Danero Thomas made a 15-foot shot to take the game 66 to 65. According to Murray State’s coach, Billy Kennedy, Thomas was the third or fourth option. Kennedy commented, “It was a miracle play…It was just something I drew up, something that we’d never done before.”
I love the fact that MSU, the 2010 Ohio Valley Conference Champions, is once again playing in the tournament and took out a top seed to advance to the next round. I haven’t seen this much excitement over a MSU men’s basketball team since their stunning defeat of Jim Valvano’s NC State team back in the late 1980’s. I’ll never forget the look on Valvano’s face when he congratulated MSU’s coach after the game (who are you people anyway). But what makes this victory such an inspiration is the tenacity of the team, though visibly tired and spent, and the fact that the unlikely player saved the day. Stories like this should encourage all of us that we can make a difference too.
The Bible states that, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:26-27, NIV). It doesn’t matter what we were or what we had done before the call to the “big dance” of service unto the Lord. It doesn’t matter that we were not voted most likely to succeed in high school or that we were undistinguished among other athletes (or even picked last for the team). The one God calls he also equips. The Lord anoints his people to accomplish his will and purposes in the earth. That anointing is God on flesh doing what flesh can’t do. “He puts his ability on our ability giving us the ability to do what we could not do before he put his ability on our ability” (thanks Creflo). He adds his super to our natural for supernatural or miraculous results (just like Danero’s 15-footer). So, when the Lord passes you the ball, and even though you are tired and more than a little intimidated, take the shot because there’s something on you. This could very well be God’s “for such a time as this” moment in your life.
Congratulations Danero, Coach Kennedy, and the entire Murray State University Racer team!