This just in: The World Cup is a pretty big deal.
Alright, I admit it, I am an American and I actually really enjoy watching soccer. (Football/Futbol)
This year, to the disgrace of some and obliviousness of most, Team USA failed to qualify for the Fifa World Cup.
This is a pretty big deal. First, television stations lose viewership (because many Americans only care to watch soccer once every four years) and, more importantly, there is now one less reason for groups of strangers to boisterously chant U.S.A., U.S.A.!
I couldn’t help but laugh, quite literally out-loud, a few days ago while listening to a local sports talk show. The radio hosts were asking World Cup/Soccer questions and listeners were calling in to answer with the incentive of a prize. The funny part? There was only one listener out of ten that answered his question correctly! This was a sports talk show talking about the world’s most popular sport, and no one had a clue what they were talking about. We may be just a bit ignorant.
But, my intentions today are not to shame us Americans into liking soccer or even caring about the World Cup. (You should though, but that’s just my humble opinion.)
Instead, I hope to give us all a bit of perspective.
There are approximately 7.4 Billion people living on our planet. 3.4 Billion of those people are watching the World Cup live on T.V. Yes. You read that correctly. Nearly half of the total world’s population is tuned in. That is staggering!
Soccer has a pretty cool way of bringing people together.
Just imagine all the hundreds of languages shouting GOAL! Imagine the thousands of cultural backgrounds represented. The millions and millions of hopes and dreams. The multitude of fox-hole prayers being prayed in the 92nd minute of extra time.
And the 3.4 billion individual stories.
We need to have perspective.
This is a big world, and a big world can only belong to a big God.
When I think about the sheer size and scope of the influence of the World Cup I can’t help but revel in the fact that all its grandeur pales in comparison to a future, worldwide event.
Revelation 7:9-10 says, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”
Can you imagine it? Pause right now. Try really hard to just imagine a great multitude of people that no one could number. Now imagine that whole mass of people is from all sorts of different backgrounds, languages, cultures, and skin colors. Now realize that they are ALL united and together worshiping their creator and savior.
That is an incredible picture. Heaven is going to be so much better, and bigger, than a World Cup Final, no matter who is playing.
Yes, soccer does have an incredible way of bringing people together, but Jesus does it so much better.
Galatians 3:28 reminds us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
The unity that Jesus brings is permanent and much stronger than any human-created thing. That is just one of the many reasons why, we who know Him, must always be ready and willing to share about Jesus and His incredible love.
Our main GOAL in life ought to be to share the good news of the Gospel.
So, yeah. That what I think about when I watch World Cup games…that and how the Ref clearly missed that offsides call!