“The Dragons? No self respecting person goes for them, they are a bunch of cheats. And they haven’t won anything for 30 years.” Sadly, all too many people repeat this line to me. Sad because I am a long suffering Dragons supporter.
There is no doubt in Australia, we have an obsession with footy - NRL, AFL, Super 14, and even soccer's A League. But as a Christian, what can we say about footy? Does God care? Does he go for the Saints as well? (Probably not, if he did they might win more…).
Well, there is nothing wrong with following a team, or being passionate about your favourite player. But as we watch footy, we can learn a lot about ourselves and God.
1) Footy shows our hearts. A mate of mine loves footy, and also loves Jesus. But when the referee makes a wrong decision, he gets angry and yells at him (not very nicely), calling for justice. Its all a bit embarrassing really, but it shows us what we are like. Footy can get us so caught up in the moment, we can end up dealing with people in inappropriate ways. We need to be mindful of Jesus' command to love God and our neighbours(including NRL referees who make mistakes!).
2) Footy points to justice. The reason my mate gets so angry is he knows what's right and what's wrong. He applauds justice, and hates wrong decisions. This is how we are wired by God. What we would love is a ref who gets the job done, without favouritism, and without mistakes. The same is true in life - we would love God to deal with those people who have hurt us, or who made bad decisions in our lives. The only problem is that God will not play favourites - all of us deserve God’s full justice, you and me as well! God is the perfect ref in life in all of life.
3) Footy points to joy. There is nothing better than watching your team kick a sideline conversion to win by a point on the final siren. We jump for joy, hug some random person next to us and hang the flag out of the window all the way home. Sadly the joy we have at the ground is rarely shared when discussion turns to Jesus. But the joy of the game is but a taste of the real joy to be had when we meet Jesus. After all, Jesus is the ultimate victor. He has won it all! He played the game, defeated death, the devil, sin and evil. He hands us victory if we trust in him as well. Where is our joy for that great and eternal victory won for us as Jesus died and came back to life again?
Footy points us to the greater victory won for us, once and for all by Jesus. Get on board his team, trust Jesus and follow him, the door is open to all, no matter which NRL team you support, even Melbourne Storm supporters!
Some thoughts to keep you amused at 1am