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Photo: Enigma Sport

“All I know most surely about morality and obligation I owe to football”,

Albert Camus

Sower

Some others like seed sown among the thorns hear the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful Mark 4:18-19

I love the world of sport; it is where I feel at home. The world of sport is fallen and sinful like the rest of our world. The message of the Bible can be summed up in four words: creation, fall, redemption and restoration. All of them apply to sport as much as to anything else.

• Sport is part of God’s creation.

• Sport has been damaged by the fall and sin entering the world

• When Jesus died to redeem mankind, the world of sport was not excluded.

• Restoring the world of sport to an environment where God is honoured is a task that many of us have signed up to.

As I read the parable of the sower, verse 19 jumped off the page – OK it didn’t really! The acceptance of the gospel message is hampered by many things. The “worries of life” and the “deceitfulness of wealth” are two of them.

It is very easy to worry about sport. How am I playing? Is the coach happy with my performance? Why was there another goalkeeper at training this week? Is my place in the team under threat? Last week’s defeat was my fault. The players are not responding to me. Why is it so much more difficult to coach this group of players than any previous team? Have the players lost confidence in me?

The “deceitfulness of wealth” is rampant in professional football. Average players demand astronomical salaries. If only I was paid more I would be happier – and it is not just footballers who think that!

I interviewed a 2011 World Champion about his preparation for the 2012 Olympics. He identified money was one of the distractions. He told me he planned to compete the same amount as in 2011 as that had worked and to try to avoid “getting caught up in trying to earn any extra money or anything like that because that happens a lot especially for someone who has just won the World Championships and there are a lot more opportunities for money to be made. But that is not what it is all about”.

I was impressed that he saw so clearly the risk and the “deceitfulness of wealth”.

Let us me ready to live out the gospel in the world of sport.

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