What is football? No, seriously, it’s an important question. I know I was on a Philosophy course last weekend, and I tend towards exploring bizarre questions, but if someone was to ask you ‘what’s football?’ what would you say?
Some might answer with an outline of the rules and regulations. A few may give a disdainful answer along the lines of ’22 men chasing a bag of wind’. Some could point to great matches of the past, some may even take you along to a match and talk you through it. A more experienced footballer may get a football out, take you down to the park and organise a game to show you it first-hand.
All of the above would certainly go some way to answering the question. But I struggle with some who talk as if the game played by the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona, Inter Milan, etc is the real game and the local under-8s is just a kickabout. The view of under-8s can often be - its preparation for the future - even the large multinational teams talk of their youth academies as investments for the future. Why can’t it be a great game of football today that can be enjoyed and relished? A little bit like my life or yours. We can spend so much time preparing for the future that we lose out on the present.
Jesus said to his crew that the kingdom of God is within you. Now that’s not ‘it’ll be better soon’ or ‘what takes place in the future is what really counts’. Jesus is repeatedly saying to his followers that running into him today is so much more fun than praying for that meeting to happen in the future.
Take some time to watch a young child. They don’t live for the future. They live for now. They don’t have any concept of an hour, a day or a month into the future. They are caught up in experiencing the now. I think that’s some of what Jesus wants in his followers. He wants us to be like children. He longs for us to run to him. He desires our passion and devotion. He wants to see the fire in our eyes. So I don’t have a plan for my life. I have a relationship with God that is dynamic, ever-changing and transformational. As long as my eyes are on Jesus I believe I will relish every moment.