I have a confession to make. Even as a Duke fan, I cheered and celebrated when Luke Maye hit that amazing game-winning shot for UNC on Sunday evening because it was such an exciting finish.  

With Maye’s tremendous shot on our minds, we also reflect on the anniversaries of two iconic game winners.

Yesterday was 25 years since Duke’s Christian Laettner caught the Grant Hill pass and hit the buzzer beater to knock off Kentucky.

Today marks 35 years since Michael Jordan hit the jumper to win the NCAA Championship for UNC over Georgetown.

As we look at these three wonderful plays, what do they all have in common? Each player had the willingness to step up and take the final shot.

They also had confidence, boldness, and a belief that their teammates and coaches trusted them. They couldn’t have feared failure, and more than likely would have been more disappointed if they didn’t take the shot than they would have been if they missed it.

How can we apply this principle to our own lives? Ultimately, these players must have had faith that it was the right shot to take, so we must be willing to step out in faith to take the shots that come our way.

We can’t be hampered by fear, but instead seek the Lord for wisdom, direction, and opportunities to step out in faith. He clearly lets us know what we should do, and reveals which shots to take.

Although He provides the the strength and confidence we need to go for it, we must first listen…and then be willing.

There is a great illustration of this in the Bible where Jesus shows up when his disciples are fishing and not having much success.

John 21:4-6 (ESV) tells us, “Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, do you have any fish?’ They answered Him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.”

This story is an encouraging example of how the disciples “took the shot” and threw their nets where Jesus told them. Do we boldly take the shot when He tell us to…or do we continue living in fear and discouragement?

We have opportunities to take “game winners” and “catch our own fish,” but we need to have faith that it’s the right shot to take. Today, let’s decide to listen to Jesus’ voice and follow where He’s leading us to go. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I desire to live a life filled with boldness and confidence because of my faith in You. I want to trust You fully and know when You’re leading me to step out or step up. Please make it clear what shots I need to take, and help me rely on You for strength. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.