Russia plays host to the FIFA World Cup this month and already there have been some surprises, especially Germany the defending champion’s unexpected defeat by Mexico. England team managerGareth Southgate’s mainly young and inexperienced teamplayed their opening match against Tunisia on Monday night. Before flying from Birmingham last weekend there was a quiet confidence from the team manager that while it will be the fresh face of English football that will be on display the talent and potential will be enormous- and by the final whistle on Monday night that was exactly what we saw! The game was one of the best so far and credit to Harry Kane the team captain for the two goals – the last ‘header’ in the closing minutesdispelling any doubt that there’s much more of the same to come. Now second in Group G and three points in the bag – youth, talent and potential seem, after all, to be the right mix!
We must never discount youth nor underestimate the potential and talent of the young in all aspects of life. The Bible tells of a young shepherd boy David whom God called from the hills of Bethlehem to defeat the giant Goliath and to be the King of a nation from whose ancestry would come the Saviour of the world. When a young boy offered his picnic of five loaves and two fish to the disciples they were just about to turn him away when Andrew, a little more discerning that the others took him to Jesus who delighted in his willingness to share, five thousand were fed that day.
Time is God’s gift to us and we are encouraged to use it well from our earliest days to the very autumn of our years. The Bible says that there is a time for every purpose under heaven and we are challenged through the teaching of Jesus to find purpose in our own lives, be it in caring for our families, in our work and even our play, never forgetting that in loving God and serving others the greatest potential of our lives is fulfilled. It was George Bernard Shaw whosaid that youth was wasted on the young. That may be because with the passing of the years we would love to regain the youthful vitality of years long passed. There is, however, an even greater encouragement because God’s love, strength and grace is, as the Bible says, new every morning, refreshing and inspiring us with new hope and strength for all the challenges of the day. Well done England!