Last night, I was watching the Boise State-Virginia Tech football game. As the game progressed, I became increasingly interested in seeing Boise State win. On the surface, my feelings made no sense. After all, I'm an Oklahoman. I remember a few years ago when Boise State upset the University of Oklahoma in a bowl game. I should have been wanting to see revenge taken out on the team that destroyed a good season for a good Oklahoma team.
So why was I cheering a team that I should have despised? As I thought about it, I realized that it was because of one man whom I respect from our congregation who became a fan of Boise State when he lived and worked in Idaho. This man works in the insurance business, but he teaches classes and preaches for churches in the area when they are in need of teachers and preachers. He is a great family man. He leads a Tuesday morning men's Bible study at the Contact Church which draws men from as far as an hour's drive away. He and his wife have been pillars in the Contact Church since the beginning, even allowing homeless men to stay in their home with them as those men tried to get their lives together. He has led a lifestyle of helping others. When he speaks, people listen, because he has something worth hearing.
It would have been difficult to have been against a team that he liked.
That's the subtle power of respect. It's the power of influence. And it makes more of an impact in the lives of others than merely which football team to cheer for.