Term 3, Week 7, 2017 - Devotion

I love sport. I love football, particularly the AFL kind. It’s now September. Its finals time at the moment and I am avidly watching every game like it was the last. To a degree, with the season ending soon, that is fast becoming the case.

I love the physicality of it all. The tough hits, the long kicks, the precision passes, the ‘clangers’ (inaccurate kick) right in front of goal, the blatantly bad decisions, the classic commentary, the spectacular marks, soccer-roo inspired goals…all for the chance to play for a Premiership Medal in the Grand Final in late September. The Premiership Cup! Medals! Accolades! Cheering crowds! etc.

As my father used to say, “In Victoria, Footy is religion”.

Back in my own Football days at university, a placard in our change rooms read “Pain is temporary. Glory is forever.” Which begged the question of who’s or what glory? Because all the premiership trophies and medals, will rust and gather dust one day. I know my own collection of junior football awards all occupy a box in a cupboard…somewhere.
Gary Ablett Jnr, current player for the Gold Coast Suns (but for how long?) and one of the more active and well known Christians in the sport, talked candidly after receiving yet another personal accolade for his amazing feats in the sport a few years ago. He said this: “The…awards don’t define you as a person…football’s just a game, as much as I love it”. He’d just been voted into the ‘All Australian’ Squad for the 8th straight year (the first AFL player ever to do so).

His wise understanding of things reminded me of the ‘ancient equivalent’ of an AFL player (at least that’s how I think of him), the apostle Paul. He famously stated in 1 Corinthians 9, that “everyone who competes…they do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever…I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

The prize? Eternal life with God. Who’s glory? God’s. Remember that in September, Victoria.

Mr James Waterhouse
Year 8 Advisor