Not long to go now until things kick off in South Africa, and I don’t know about you, but I personally can not wait. For the next few weeks the World Cup is going to be dominating all aspects of most males (and probably quite a lot of females) lives. Between watching the matches (3 a day, every day for the first few weeks) to discussing them the next day, to watching the daily highlights show, to having world cup BBQs, to watching the highlights of the highlight shows, football is going to be filling up a lot of people’s lives. (Apart from the North Koreans, who’ll only get highlights of any of their victories, somewhat unlikely when they are in a group with Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast…). And while I’m gutted the mighty Norn Iron won’t be taking part this year (next time, next time…) that won’t stop me watching, and cheering for whoever England are playing.
I’m going to be spending most of the World Cup in America, so won’t be able to watch as much of the World Cup as I’d like to, but wanted to help out the rest of you who are able to watch every match, but are wrestling with your conscious over whether you should or not. Because chances are at some point during a 0-0 draw between Japan and Denmark a nagging voice in your head will start to challenge you as to if spending the next month fixated by the World Cup is really a good use of the time God has given you, making you ponder if you should be doing something more ‘holy’ like reading the Bible. But fear not. Here at All4God we want to ease your conscious as you watch the World Cup with some biblical permission to watch it, from none less than Biblical letter writer extraordinaire Paul himself.
You see, Paul tells us to “encourage each other [meaning our Christian brothers/sisters]” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). And here’s the thing – there’s a good number of Christians playing in the World Cup who we need to encourage by watching. Players like Kaka from Brazil, Tim Howard from the USA, Marcos Senna from Spain, Rory Fallon from New Zealand, Nicola Legrottaglie from Italy, even Wayne Rooney was quoted in the papers earlier in the week as saying if he hadn’t made it as a footballer he would have entered church ministry. So this World Cup, lets really step up to Paul’s challenge, and encourage our fellow Christian brothers who are competing by devoting our time to watching as much as we can, cheering them on, supporting them as they strive to use the talents God has given them to glorify Him.
Some of you may argue that Paul did not have the World Cup in mind when he wrote those words. And that is true, for the World Cup only started in 1930. But it is clear from some of the illustrations he used (fight the good fight, finish the race…) that he was a sports fan and would approve. So let’s not waste time that could be used for watching football to argue over it.
So I guess my closing question is – who do you think is going to win? My money would be on Brazil, but the Bible isn’t too hot on gambling, so I don’t have any actual money on them. But what about you?