new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

Counting Chickens

There are few things that bring a deeper sense of satisfaction to Irish rugby fans than beating England. Except thwarting English Grand Slam dreams. Apologies to any English readers—but that’s just the way it is.

Ireland’s barnstorming 24-8 defeat of England on Saturday, ended England’s dreams of their first Grand Slam since the World Cup winning year of 2003.

Only one thing makes it better—I just saw a video today that Nike had prepared in the event that England would win. It was part of a whole advertising campaign, planned to burst onto screens at Waterloo, Kings Cross, Euston and Charing Cross train stations at the final whistle. Commemorative T-shirts with 'Grand Slam Champions 2011', the one-word mission statement 'Onwards' and a red rose also had to be shelved. Or perhaps just binned.

A Nike spokesman said: "We commissioned a celebration T-shirt and a video featuring the players, as we obviously need to plan ahead… perhaps the lesson is to be less optimistic in our internal communications."

In other news—the BBC website has an item announcing “A study using census data from nine countries shows that religion there is set for extinction”. Apparently the option on census forms to indicate that you are ‘not affiliated with any religious group’ is gaining in popularity, and statisticians are using it to predict the decline and death of religion. I was somewhat disappointed that the article didn’t give a specific deadline because I was hoping that Nike might produce another set of bin-able commemorative T-shirts for the event!

Both items bring to mind Mark Twain’s response to his premature obituary notice, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”.

Jesus said that he would build his church and that even Hell itself wouldn’t be able to resist the spread of the gospel. So while the number of those who show an external or nominal adherence to various religious entities may be on the decline, Christianity itself will not die out. Jesus has guaranteed its existence until he returns, and he has a good track record of keeping his promises—including coming back from the dead.

And if you are looking for a winning side to celebrate with, you can do no better than to trust in Jesus. Christians are not waiting to see if he will win, for he won at the cross. The final whistle has gone. All that is happening now is like that moment after a match when one side hasn’t heard the whistle and plays fruitlessly on seeking for a victory they can never have. Christians are waiting for him to step out onto the pitch and to lead his people in their lap of victory. And you have an opportunity to join the winning side while there is time.

Anything else is counting chickens before they are hatched.