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serving jesus christ the king

In the name of the Cup

It’s finally here. The moment men all over the country have been waiting for. The 2010 World Cup is about to kick off. Football fans across the world eagerly hope that their country will triumph. Girlfriends and wives worldwide resign themselves, once again, to being relegated to second place throughout the competition. Economists expect that each English goal after the group stage will benefit the economy by £126 million, and if they make it to the final, a whopping £2 billion.

As if there wasn’t a high enough burden of expectation on the poor boys’ shoulders, they have to save the economy too!

It will be interesting to watch how the drive for World Cup success will impact players and fans. I’m old enough to remember the ’82 finals and desperate Algerian fans waving money at German and Austrian players who played a mockery of a final group game, ensuring that they both went through and Algeria went out. Sportsmanship will be sacrificed. Players previously regarded for their skill or honesty will throw it aside because winning means more—we all remember Thierry Henry and Diego Maradona for the wrong reasons. We’ll see players dive, fall over, and roll around crying in a manner that would embarrass most girls, in an effort to gain penalties and free kicks.

All in the pursuit of success.

Perhaps too, you remember the tragic case of Andrés Escobar, a Colombian player, who was shot and killed after his own goal in ’94, which caused gambling losses to several powerful drug lords.

All in the name of the Cup.

Of course it would be all too easy to point the finger at these overpaid, over-groomed stars of the ‘world’s greatest game’. For something drives each one of us—it’s just a question of what. It might be success, decency, reputation or standing in our community, it might be money, security, relationships, love, sex, power, acceptance, influence—the list is endless.

We all live in the pursuit of something—very often self. We may not go out and shoot those who get in our way, or who mess up our plans, but how do you react when something gets in the way of your dreams? Or to what lengths are you prepared to go to pursue your dreams?

We need to ask ourselves, does what we pursue make us better people? Or does it cultivate pride, deceit, anger, resentment, fear, or anxiety? They are indicators that we have a wrong primary goal. We are made to pursue something, but unless God takes the first place, then ultimately our desires will either defeat us, disappoint us or dissatisfy us. And en-route we will find some of the above character traits growing in our own lives. When be put God first and live for him, all other things find their rightful place, and he will not disappoint, defeat, or dissatisfy us. And as we follow him, he will change us for good.

What are you living for?