I am an enduring fan of the Chelsea Football Club (English Premiership League, soccer to some). When they play their game, they are a joy to watch. Minute by minute, the score unfolds. One knows, regardless of the outcome, which team deserves the win. The ebb and flow of the game, the way the team plays together responding, counterpunching, all go into the game’s quality. At its best, the game and the score reflect the truth.
I wish life were as simple. If only we were measure by forty-five minute intervals, with coaching and breaks to get ourselves together for the next half. Everything would be here to play for. Life is, in a way, as simple as this. The only difference is timing and perspective.
Chelsea cannot control the other team. They can respond to them. The can influence them. They cannot control them. Life is like that for you and me.
Chelsea can control what they do. While the other team can influence them, Chelsea has the freedom to play their game. It is a collective choice that is known by what happens on the field. We have freedom within us to act. Our decisions will tell the story of how we use this freedom.
The difference comes in how scores is tallied. In Chelsea’s case, we know the outcome when the final whistle is blown. In our case, the final score is not known until it is known. As much as we might think we know, Paul’s advice is one that we should pay attention to.
“So don’t get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in. When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of—inner motives and purposes and prayers. Only then will any one of us get to hear the “Well done!” of God.” (1 Corinthians 4.5)
Today is our chance to play the game. Playing is about using our freedom. The score will come later.