‘Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.’ (Matthew 7:24-27)
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
Over the past few weeks it has felt as if we have been unable to get away from sports coverage whenever you turned on the television. You were able to watch Wimbledon all day on more than one television channel and the coverage of Euro 2020 football matches started hours before the game actually kicked off and continued with analysis long after the final whistle had blown. You couldn’t even escape by watching the news as they counted you down to the next match or reviewed the one that had just taken place.
I am not a great fan of either tennis or football, but I did take an interest in what was going on (it was quite difficult to avoid doing so). On Sunday evening Rob and I kept an eye on the football match without actually watching very much of it. We checked the score at half time and again at full time and again during extra time and again at the end of extra time. At this point we actually started watching; there is something quite exciting about a penalty shoot-out. We stayed watching for a short time afterwards, listening to the views of the commentators as they tried to sum up what had happened. One of the commentators was asked about what this young England side had contributed over the past month and his reply was that they had given the country hope.
This comment saddened me as I considered the young players and how so much had been placed on their shoulders. I was also saddened at the thought that some of the fans would have had their hopes dashed by the result of the game. People have responded to the result of the game in many different ways, some of which have been most unpleasant and highly shameful. For some people the result was of no importance but for others it meant everything, for most it was somewhere in-between.
What is clear is that people need hope, but hope should not be placed in the result of a football match; that is like building your house on sand. Hope needs to be placed on a solid footing, something that is rock solid. As Christians we base our hope on God, our faithful, never changing God, something that we can rely on completely, so that whatever happens, we are able to stand firm.
Let us remember those who do not share our faith, whose hope is built on something other than Jesus. We are the fortunate ones. As the old song goes ‘My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; no merit of my own I claim, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand – all other ground is sinking sand.’ (MP 473) Let us be thankful for that.
Lord help our lives to be examples to those around us, so that they see in us the hope we have in you.