Well, not much, actually – or so I thought. I didn’t watch one single match although I did scan the news coverage merely to keep up with what’s happening over on the other side of the world; and to sound intelligent when conversing with friends. Personally, I was more concerned with the clash that was taking place – and still taking place – in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas. But please read on…
The biggest news of this year’s World Cup must be that of how Germany thrashed hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals. Apparently, Brazil struggled quite a bit without their star player Neymar, who fractured a vertebra in the quarter-final match against Columbia. In the finals, everyone hoped for more Messi magic. Well, that didn’t happen and Germany goes on to beat Argentina 1-0 to lift the Jules Rimet trophy.
As I was driving along this morning, wondering if I should have gotten up to watch at least one match – the finals, no less – and feeling rather amused at how accurate the National Council on Problem Gambling‘s ad has been, this thought popped in…
“It’s no longer about individual star players in the likes of Neymar and Messi, talented as these are. It’s about teams whose players are virtually unknown but each functioning well in their positions and assignments. The days of spiritual superstars are coming to an end. God is raising up Archippuses, men and women who are almost anonymous yet each known by Him by name. These will be awakened to take to the field, to rout the enemy, to advance the kingdom of God.”
That sure caught my attention! Indeed, this is what Archippus Awakening is all about. For quite a while, the Church has gravitated towards leaders and speakers who are dynamic and charismatic. Not that this is bad in itself but what it has produced is a whole bunch of passive believers who listen but don’t act, who wait for directions and activities as planned and organised by the Church. There are too many church-goers who, if they are not told what to do, simply don’t know what to do! In World Cup language, everything will be ok as long as we have Neymar and Messi! But look what happened to Brazil and Argentina.
Germany, on the other hand, has good players but not one is lifted above the others. Sports commentators all agree that they are the stronger team because the load is evenly spread and each player is very clear of his assigned task. Is that not what the Church should be, where every part does its share, resulting in growth in the entire body (Eph 4:16)? But how can that happen if saints are asleep and each believer is not clear of what the Lord has assigned to them? No wonder the Neymars and the Messis are getting all the sponsorship deals!
And in case you think that you are not numbered amongst the first eleven, there is even a lesson to learnt from the spectators, fans and soccer-crazed people around the world. Throughout this entire World Cup season, millions have been willing to spend money and lose sleep for the sake of catching each and every match, whether onsite or online. In Singapore, thousands take leave, set their alarm clocks religiously and drag themselves out of bed. Why do they put themselves through such a regime? Because they have a very clear task: I WILL NOT MISS THIS MATCH! I WILL BE AWAKE SO THAT MY TASK WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED! Of course, these do it for the entertainment; but is not the kingdom of God worthy of even more devotion and passion? The World Cup has come and gone! But the kingdom is from everlasting to everlasting!
Dear friends, whether you are battling out there in the front lines or simply praying for and encouraging someone who is, you need to know your role and your assignment. Stop idolising and relying on Neymar or Messi, placing them on a pedestal. That is not how it is supposed to be. The days of spiritual superstars are coming to an end. The Lord is stirring and shaking His Church and awakening the saints to know, be equipped and fulfil their assignments. As Pastor George Annadorai shared at “Restoration of the Kingdom” Conference earlier in March 2014, using soccer analogy, half-time is almost over and the second half will begin soon. The time is short and there will be an acceleration of all things all over the world. This is not the time to be found asleep, wanting or clueless.
Will you seek the Lord for your assignment? Or will you be in hibernation until FIFA World Cup 2018? The ball’s in your court.