From World Cup to the Race of Life

Author: Timothy Tin
Translator: Mandy Kwan

This year’s world cup, the 22nd one since its inception, was hosted for the first time in a Muslim country –namely Qatar. Since 2002’s world cup in Korea, this is the second time the world cup has been held in Asia. Qatar also beats Switzerland in being the host country with the smallest surface area. However, during the opening game of Ecuador vs. Qatar, Qatar stumbled into a defeat, breaking from the tradition of host countries winning home games. Over the past decade, Qatar has invested and prepared to take a foothold on the world sports scene. Despite criticism from the western media, Qatar has hosted nearly 600 athletic meets and competitions to steadily establish and solidify its Arabic culture and influence globally. As COVID-19’s restrictions eased, tourists from all over the world flocked to Qatar to attend the games, which cost nearly $220 million. Neighboring nations like Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia welcome thousands of tourists, leading to a surge in flight and hotel bookings, leading the Middle East into a wave and surge in tourism. Why does the world cup have such a ripple effect and draws so many spectators?

Stretching back to the ancient times, in every culture or country, whether you are a king or a peasant, people simply love to spectate different kinds of sports and competitions. Kings or emperors would use the victories of competitions to boast their self-importance and the country’s prowess. Constituents would likewise be entertained by these competitions, and even idolize or bet on these competitors! Whether we are talking about the Kentucky Derby, the Daytona 500, the Olympics, or the World Cup—if we remove the competitive aspects of them and just view the athletes or events as simply entertainment, this will lose the interest of spectators. Therefore, the rules of the game, the fairness of the referees, the prize money, the competitors’ performance, and the sponsors become how victory is decided.

Aren’t our lives like a competition too? Since the moment you were born, your weight has been measured and you would have gone through years of being compared with other children, and your parents will prepare you for all sorts of competitions, whether it is to get into a good school, a decent job, a suitable mate. Life is full of competitions and our society tends to reward the strong and mighty and ignore the weak. Sometimes we might face injustice or judgment, or get sidelined due to cheating. The moral decay and sinful nature of mankind fills this world with darkness and grief! If there is no judgment after death, then there is simply no incentive for people to lead decent and moral lives. Life on earth would be the same as in hell! If what we do now has no bearing on what’s to come, then there is no need for us to try the best.

“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27) Even though life can feel like a treacherous journey, we still have to face the final judgment with God. (1 Corinthians 4:9; Romans 2:6)

Dear friends, we ought to give our best to each competition, confess our sins, and lead a life that honors God.

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