One of the five most startling plays ever in football history occurred during the 15th Rose Bowl Game of 1929! Roy Riegals, the captain of the University of California Berkley, moved from his center position and grabbed a Georgia Tech fumble, was spun around in the line of scrimmage, broke into the clear; and headed for the WRONG GOAL 75-yards away!

The crowd roared! Some were pulling for him to go all the way — they were the Georgia Tech fans. Some were trying to get him to stop – they were the California fans. His teammates yelled for him to stop — he couldn’t hear them — all that mattered was to reach that goal many yards away! Finally, one of his own team mates caught up with him and stopped him less than one yard from his own goal line! California had to kick; but the kick was blocked by a hard charging, fired-up Georgia Tech team; and California fell on the ball in the end zone to give Georgia Tech a safety worth two points.

That was “the ole’ ball game” as they say. Instead of losing 7-6, Georgia Tech won 8-7; all because Roy Riegals ran the wrong way!

“Impossible”, you say? Not really! Jim Marshall, Defensive Lineman (one of the “purple people eaters”) for the Minnesota Vikings did it in 1965; as he scooped a Washington fumble and set sail the wrong way.

It can happen! It also happens in life!

How many do you know who are all mixed up on the field of life and are running the wrong way as fast as they can? In fact, you may be one of them!

You get “spun around” in the game of life and as you imagine that you are racing toward the goal-line of eternal life; you are, in fact, headed in the opposite direction towards a place called Hell, where you must face the “eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

Roy Riegals’ team mates and fans shouted directions and warnings to him; but the roar of the world deafened his ears to their frantic cries. He didn’t need “advice”; he needed to be STOPPED! But he wasn’t; and he raced on toward the wrong goal as fast as he could.

Maybe you have been warned many times that you are headed in the wrong direction and need to receive Christ as your personal Savior; but so far it has all been to no avail. All you care about is getting to that goal — never once stopping to realize that it is the wrong way! The world has too many pleasures to give you! It has never passed through your mind that you could be wrong!

Hey! Maybe you are running away from God unaware that the uniform you so proudly wear is a “filthy rag” in the sight of God. Church membership gave you that uniform; or was it baptism, confirmation, clean living, good works!

Whatever it was; if you got it be working to earn something that had already been paid for; you undershot the runway! Oh yes; Salvation in Christ has already been paid in full: “... You were not redeemed with ... silver and gold ... but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18).

Block out the roar of the crowd for a minute! Listen to the COACH — Jesus Christ! Listen to your own team mates – the ones who REALLY DO care for you. Realize that you are on the wrong road, running the wrong way, racing toward the wrong goal. Realize that YOU COULD BE WRONG! It is possible! It could happen!

Believe me, something as vital as eternity is something on which I believe I would make certain!

Don’t know how? I do; and I will share!

Tom Mooty has served Newport’s West End Baptist Church as its Supply Pastor and Interim Pastor and Guest Pastor and Pastor and Senior Pastor and very, very. very Senior Pastor for a total of thirty three cumulative years; and writes this column for The Newport Plain Talk’s Wednesday and Weekend Editions. Mooty appreciates your comments (especially the good ones) which have been sent to or P.O. Box 851, Newport, 37822.

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