Recently, we learned of the 16 US cities that will play host to the 2026 World Cup – the global soccer competition where nation competes against nation every 4 years. Included in the list is MetLife Stadium! Experiencing sport like this in our own backyard will be a once in a lifetime moment for soccer fans everywhere.
I’ll confess, I’m a MASSIVE fan of “the beautiful game”, but I freely admit that for some, soccer may be an acquired taste. Until you gain a deeper understanding of the athleticism and creativity required to excel at soccer, the truth that there are few rules, matches can end in ties or with no score, and the fact that it can look like just a bunch of guys chasing a kickball can leave skeptics scratching their heads over what the fuss is all about.
A diehard soccer fan can spout off parallels between the game and life all day long, but I won’t do that to you – save for one. I think the most valuable lesson for you and me from this worldwide sport is buried in one of its oddities:
Only the referee (not the clock) decides exactly when the match ends.
Soccer is played in two 45 minutes halves, and in each half the clock never stops, even if the play pauses for an injury, etc. At the end of the 45 minutes, the referee estimates the amount of time that the play was paused, and adds that amount to the end of the regulation time, but the actual end of the match is ultimately decided solely by the referee. This causes players in a close match to never lose hope, and to never stop playing their hardest, pushing to the very end because they’re never entirely sure how much more time they have.
Starting to see the parallel yet? I’m struck at how many times just in the last week I’ve put off something important – eternally important – because I trusted I could do it “tomorrow”, when God’s never actually guaranteed me that.
I have a wise friend whose goal for his life is that when it all comes to an end on earth, he wants to die “broke and exhausted because he gave it all (in both actions and stuff) to Jesus.” He lives every day of his life that way, and I want that to be my heart, and your heart, too. We’re not promised tomorrow, or even another breath, so we both owe it to each other to play our hardest at the purpose we’ve been made for until the VERY END, when the Referee blows the whistle and declares our match finished.
Matthew 24:35-36 – Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the father knows.
Brand Director, STAR 99.1
Wow! As a soccer fan and a soccer family, albeit acquired overtime for some of us, I am crying right now at how beautiful this parallel is… thank you!!
Thanks Kelly for reading – I love that you call yourselves a “soccer family”!