Sunday, July 13, 2014

What Does World Cup Soccer Teach us about the Church?

In the past month, the world was struck by fever; World Cup fever. In some countries, work stops when their national team plays. Bosses will note bloodshot eyes and more employees on medical leave after all those late night live telecasts. I remember watching my first live World Cup final in 1974. West Germany (as Germany was then known as) played Holland and Germany won. I believe history will repeat itself tomorrow morning. J
Soccer is a team sport like basketball, cricket, etc. One thing to learn from team games is that the team must play well together. There may be some superstars who win games on their own but that is rare. By and large, a team is only as good as its team performance on the field. The 2014 German soccer team shone with their team-work while superstar-driven teams like England with Rooney, Portugal with Ronaldo and a Neymar-less Brazil failed miserably. That is why managers like Jose Mourinho of Chelsea and Sir Alex of MUFC discipline their stars to play for the team rather than their own glory.
The other thing to learn from team games is that you can make a difference, whichever position you play. In the 1974 World Cup, Germany won because of goals by Paul Breitner and Gerd Muller. However, the win was also because their goalkeeper, Sepp Maier, was in top form. Further, Berti Vogts their defender marked the Dutch star, Cruyff, out of the game while their elegant captain, Beckenbauer tidied and swept up the Dutch attacks that crept through German cracks in defence. It was the effort of all eleven players playing together as a team that enabled West Germany to win the World Cup. Team games are encouraging – no matter what our position is, we can make a difference.
In life too, there are many situations where we have a part. Team sports help us see that whatever part we play, it is a necessary part. The part we play may well mean the difference between winning and losing, failure or success. So, while not every person is a star, every person can make a difference, a positive contribution.
In 1 Cor 12, Paul likens the Corinthian Church to a team. Actually, that is what we are - a team of God’s people at work. We are many individuals with each one having different parts to play. Yet everyone is needed to make sure God’s work is done properly. Many miss this idea of a church as a team. Some think of church as just a service they attend. If there are ‘good’ speakers or they have good friends there, they will attend regularly. Yet, they may not be too concerned about the well-being of the church. As long as they do their personal quiet time daily and read Christian books, they presume everything is well in God’s Kingdom and their spiritual lives are going well.
However, in 1 Cor 12, Paul teaches us the church is many people, but not just a crowd of people. It is an assembly of people who have surrendered to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Thus, we are identified not only with him but also with one another. So we organize ourselves according to the Biblical pattern to accomplish the purposes that Jesus established.
Hope PC is a team of many members, organized for the purpose of God’s Kingdom. That is Paul’s conclusion in 1 Cor 12:12, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.” Now that we know that, what is our response? Each of us must be involved for our church to make a difference in God’s Kingdom. Do we want our church to make a difference in God’s Kingdom? I am sure we do. So will you step forward to make that difference?

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