World soccer experiences something several times each season that is utterly unique in sports—the international break. For the last 10 days, the greatest players in the world have left the clubs that pay their salaries and have brought them fame to spend these days competing for their respective national teams. Frankly, it is an extraordinary interruption in the league competitions for teams in most of the top leagues (England’s Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga), because the season has barely begun. At a time when players are just settling in with their teams and match schedules, there is a sudden disruption as these great athletes abandon ship to play for country and home.
Why do they do it? Because, even though the money is in club football and the prestige is in those trophies won in the leagues, it is an opportunity to represent your country. For many athletes in other sports, that opportunity only comes during the Olympics. For soccer players, it comes throughout the season during these international breaks. And these players crave that opportunity. To wear your nation’s colors and represent your homeland in front of the world is a privilege that transcends trophies and money.
For the follower of Christ, we have an even greater opportunity, and we have it every day—the opportunity to represent Jesus Christ to the world. The apostle Paul wrote, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Imagine that! We have the privilege of beings ambassadors of the King of kings and to represent Him and His cause to a world desperately in need of Him. It is a privilege that we live out every day as we carry the name and message of the King to people in need, both in word and example. May we see the value of this privilege and take every opportunity given us to represent Him well, for He is deserving of our very best.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain