World Cup of Salvation

by Lais Waddell

With the tournament rapidly approaching, news of the World Cup has been on the television and in the papers more and more frequently. Excitement is building for the most-watched sports event, whispers of whether the venues will be ready in South Africa or not are in the air and firm favorites already picked.

But what of the games themselves? When the time for it eventually rolls around, what happens then?

Each game is played, tensions increase. One by one, teams are knocked out of the competition and fans of those that are left are wringing their hands with the anticipation and hope that their team, the nation they belong to or picked, could be the one to take it all.

And then it happens. The two teams finally reach the final; the winner takes all, and pandemonium ensues. The players, who were just as high-strung as the fans have their moment in the spotlight.

But what does the country that wins do after the match? Does the captain urge the commentators not to tell the crowd? Or at least, not the other team’s supporters as they might not like the fact that this team won? Do they hide the trophy they won so that they wouldn’t offend the other team and its supporters? And what about the players themselves – do they reluctantly admit they won the Cup and retreat to the dressing rooms without further talk about it?

Of course not!

The winning team is announced for the entire world to hear – whether they like it or not. The team captain lifts the trophy high above his head so everyone can see it. They go home to their own country and everyone celebrates their win because they won it too. The players relive the match over and over and tell everyone and anyone who would listen the highlights of the game. That moment stays with them forever.

How do we celebrate our World Cup of Salvation? Do we merely admit we are Christians to the seemingly more accepting people and studiously hide it from those who we think would take offense and be upset?

Or do we lift our World Cup of Salvation high about our heads and never tire of telling the world what Jesus has done for us? Some of us don’t, but the winners of the World Cup never hide their victory. Why should we? Especially since the prize we have won is so much more valuable. It is a lifelong achievement that will never fade, and no one will compete with us for it in the years to come. No one can reclaim it, no one can fight us for it; it is forever ours – permanent, rather than temporary.

Salvation is something that should not be hidden, as it is a gift that we should display without excuse or apology. No trophy or prize this world could give would ever come close to it.

Sometimes we forget this. We must try to keep our salvation at the forefront of our minds, since this is what keeps us going in this world; what gives us hope and the blessed assurance that not only in the life to come but right now he has provided everything we need. So we should give him all the glory and, just as in the World Cup, other teams see the elation in their opposition’s faces and yearn for it, so the world will see our joy and want to receive it as well.

So display your salvation with the same delight the world does for a trophy that fades, because you have already won the most valuable prize known to man.

Lais Waddell lives in Trinidad, West Indies.

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