From June 12th to July 13th, many of us will watch the biggest sports event on the globe. 32 countries qualified to be a part of it, including the U.S. team. 64 matches will be played in 12 cities across Brazil. For you to have an idea of how big this event is, take a look in a few numbers: 715.1 million people watched the final match of the 2006 FIFA (Federation International de Football Association) World Cup. The last World Cup was broadcast to 204 countries. Inside the stadiums, a total of 3,170,856 spectators attended the 64 matches. This year, the World Cup – Opener already got more Facebook comments than the Oscars.
People try to understand this passion for the game. Some consider it a religion. What we know for sure is that in many parts of the world everything will slow down or stop totally because of these games.
This World Cup in Brazil gives us important lessons, not only for our personal life, but for the life of the church.
Here are some of them:
1. Because we spend a lot of money does not mean that the country is healthy financially – This World Cup is the most expensive ever. It is costing Brazil around 15 billion dollars. This helps to explain all the protests that we have seen on TV. People are very upset that the government use the money for stadiums instead of schools, hospitals, roads, police, etc. In the church, sometimes we do the same thing. We expend money that we do not have in the hope that we will regain later and repay the debt. Sometimes that does not happen.
2. Do not promise more than you can deliver – This World Cup in Brazil is a clear example of this statement. The Brazilian government promised new stadiums, infrastructure, roads, subways, transport, internet, security, etc. The list is almost endless. Unfortunately, they could not deliver 100% of any of them. We will have stadiums for the games, but they will not be totally finished for sure. The people are complaining about the internet, and many other things that were promised but were not delivered. In the church and our ministries we face the same challenge. Sometimes we promise more than we can deliver, and that will put us in trouble with everybody.
3. Do not let outside organizations and people dictate what you do – FIFA is the organization that controls the World Cup and soccer around the world. Brazil had to change some laws to accommodate the World Cup. That upset many people in Brazil. Sometimes we let outside organizations dictate to us what we have to do and how we should do it. We forget that God has a specific call and a ministry for us, and we should take responsibility for that.
4. Because we are a joyful people does not mean we do not have problems – When you see the Brazilians singing and dancing you think that everything is under control but on the contrary, nothing is under control. Brazilian’s difficulties are immense, and in all areas. But Brazilians are a joyful people and they do not let challenges overshadow their joy. In our personal life and in the life of the church we should have this same attitude. Joy is something that you have inside of you; it is not imposed by the external circumstances.
5. Because a team does not start well, does not mean that it will end bad – In the World Cup history there are many stories of teams struggling in the first phases just to lift off and get into the finals. Most of the teams that were champions “grew up” throughout the competition, after having a bad beginning. In the Christian life, it is the same. It does not matter how we start; the most important thing is to end well.
Have a blessed week,