At the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup there were many predictions. Many believed that Italy, Argentina and Brazil would be in the last four: but alas they were not! Most, apart from their own supporters, knew that England would disappoint again: and alas they did! Millions of South Africans were hoping their team could do the impossible: but alas they didn’t. In Australia we all knew we would get clobbered by Germany, but we convinced ourselves we could still make it to the second round: but alas! Some of us feared that the results would all come down to silly penalty shoot outs again, but fortunately there were very few.
As a very occasional soccer fan, two things stand out for me:
First, according to most pundits the best team, Spain, actually won. As first time champions this must be good for the game and especially good for the people of Spain. Strangely the 2010 World Cup will be remembered for the exploits of an octopus, of questionable ancestry, which supposedly predicted all of Germany's games' results, as well as the results of the semi and final. I wonder how the Spanish players feel when they read the nonsense that their victory had nothing to do with their skill, hard work and preparation, but was predestined by a geriatric cephalopod. Please!
Secondly, the handball by a Uruguayan defender was probably the low point of the World Cup, when Ghana’s, and indeed Africa’s chances of making the semi-final was destroyed by blatant cheating. Sent off, the disgraced player celebrated on the sideline as Ghana stumbled in the penalty shoot out. Justice was swift when Holland ended the Uruguayan’s party in the semi-final.
There is something deep within our souls that is disturbed when people win by cheating. Equally there is something deeply satisfying about the fact that the best team lifts the Cup in the final hour.
In the Bible this is expressed by the principle that one day we will reap what we sow. In the real world, and often in the world of sport, people make considerable progress by avoiding their sins for a long time. Inside traders make all the money, crime seems to pay, injustice prevails, and often those with the best lawyers tend to win. But this is an illusion and only temporary.
In life, we often do eventually reap what we sow and in death we shall all face the judgment of a just God.
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6: 8)