Like many of you I have enjoyed watching the action from Wimbledon over the last 2 weeks. One of the most gripping matches was between Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrios- the grand steely-eyed master against the bad boy of tennis. It was a feisty affair, full of great shots and bad tempers.
The press conferences afterwards were no less riveting, Nadal keeping his cool while Kyrios admitted that he was likely never to win a major championship because he wasn’t focused and didn’t practice enough. It was a sad admission from a sportsman with such amazing natural talent. But it isn’t unusual. The history of sport is littered with people of incredible ability but who lacked the self-control and determination to make the most of it.
Likewise there are sadly so many examples of Christians who don’t make the most of the talents and opportunities they have been given to serve Christ. We read stories of them in the Scriptures, people like Eli and Solomon in the Old Testament, and in the New of the rich young ruler, Judas and Demas (see 2 Tim 4:10) ‘who loved the world’ and so deserted Paul in prison. May we not be like them!
The busyness of life, the pleasures of this world, the love of family and friends can all deflect us from our true purpose as Christians: to worship God in word and deed. It’s not that many of the things we seek are bad. God has given us a world of good things to enjoy. But when we are drawn from the narrow way of faith (as Bunyan describes it in Pilgrim’s Progress) we not only fail to live out our calling, but when we do not live wholeheartedly for Jesus we miss out on the grace, the joy, the peace, and the contentment of the life God has called us to live.
Unlike Kyrios at Wimbledon, the awkward questions we face won’t be at a press conference, but before the judgment seat of God. After all that God has done for us in Christ, let’s live for him so we can face that day with confidence, not shame.