It comes around once every four years. No, I’m not talking about the Olympics, I’m talking about something better. From June 14 to July 15, the world will come together to watch the best teams across the globe fight for the title of “Best in the world.” Yes, I’m talking about the World Cup.
*Disclaimer* The Women’s World Cup and Men’s World Cup are every two years, much like the Summer and Winter Olympics. So in 2020, we can all celebrate the Women’s World Cup!
It’s a tournament celebrating “The Beautiful Game” that dates back to the year 1930, and I just can’t get enough of this beautiful display of athletic ability and pride in one’s own country (Unless you’re American and your team didn’t make the cut this year…I’m still a little bitter, but I’ll be fine). By the way, Pele, arguably one of the best to ever play the game is the one who first called soccer “The Beautiful Game.”
In case you didn’t already know, I love soccer, or “futbol” as the rest of the world calls this glorious sport. While I know it isn’t the most popular sport in the United States, I do know that it is overwhelmingly the rest of the world’s sport of choice.
More than one billion viewers tuned in to the World Cup final match in 2014 according to FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Two of the best teams in the world went head-to-head with Germany coming out on top over Argentina. I remember the game vividly because I traveled to Germany just days after the victory, and let me tell you, morale was high!
What is it I love so much about soccer? I won’t bore you with all of the technicalities of the skill it takes to strike a ball, the stamina it takes to run almost non-stop for 90 minutes, even the poetic motion and teamwork it takes to put a ball in the back of the opposing teams net…I’ll spare you.
Perhaps one of my favorite things about soccer, and more specifically the World Cup, is the unifying factor it brings along with the competition. No matter where I’ve traveled in the world, soccer has almost always been a topic that I can easily engage in a conversation with someone from another part of the world.
No matter the team each person loves, whether it is their country’s national team or their club team of choice, most anyone can agree that they have a great passion for the sport. It’s a sport that truly brings the world together.
When the world rallies around a common love for a sport, like soccer for the World Cup, despite any differences, arguments or even wars being fought, it reminds me of the unifying love of Christ.
Under God and the sacrifice of His son, there is no one thing more unifying than the forgiveness of our sins. God doesn’t require that you be of a certain nationality, political party or social class. All He requires is repentance from sin and to profess that He is your Lord and Savior.
I encourage you to reach out to someone you don’t know this week and share your faith. As a believer, sharing my faith is something I can constantly improve upon doing. Maybe the next time you want to talk about your favorite sports team or even the World Cup, incorporate how Jesus has changed your life with His grace and forgiveness.