A Summer of Sport is fast approaching with cricket – test matches against Sri Lanka; tennis – Wimbledon of course; and football.
Yes, football, because on 11th June, England play their first match in the European Championships against Russia.
And for many, sport is the ultimate idol. Success brings elation, defeat despair, with sales of sport books exceeding £22 million in 2013.
And yet what promises so much, sometimes fails to deliver. Boris Becker, six times major singles champion, once said: “I had won Wimbledon twice, once as the youngest player. I was rich and had all the material possessions I needed, but I had no inner peace.”
Jonny Wilkinson, England’s rugby World Cup hero, said about winning the 2003 World Cup: “I’d just achieved my greatest ambition and it all felt a bit empty,” while Victoria Pendleton, Olympic cycling gold medallist in 2008, could admit: “When you win you suddenly feel lost.”
For in focussing all our energy on achieving our goal, we often lose sight of God.
Perhaps that is what Marcos Senna, European Championship winner with Spain in 2008, discovered when he said: ”If you are worried about anything, I do not think that money is the answer. Only God can give you happiness, peace and joy.”
Because just like the Apostle Paul, he was pressing on towards the goal for the (ultimate) prize – the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).
That is why “whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:9). For one day, all of us must appear before Him.
So whether you love sport or loathe it, play it or watch it, there will be much to excite and infuriate this summer.
But remember those wise words of one of England’s greatest batsmen, Ted Dexter: “You will not find ultimate fulfilment in sport.”
For as St Augustine (354-430) once wrote: “You Lord God, have created us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.”
With best wishes,