Summer 2024

Serious Call, Freeing Cause

Fifa-World-Cup-Brazil-logo-hd-2014-photo“Another disciple said to him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.'” Matthew 8:21-22

As reported several months ago, the Brazilian government pledged to spend at least $900 million on security for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. They said that it would be “one of the most protected sports events in history.” A CNN article in 2012 said that the government plans on having one police officer per every 50 people at each soccer match and one per every 80 people at other viewing events around the country.

It makes sense. The last time Brazil hosted the World Cup was 1950. The last time a South American country hosted a World Cup was 1978. Times have changed. Hosting anything is a big responsibility, especially if it’s as serious as a World Cup.

This is only natural — the more responsibility, the more serious the call — but I think we look over this aspect in our spiritual lives.

Somehow, perhaps we’ve grown up in a predominantly Christian culture (especially in the Bible Belt, where I live) that has made Jesus their Savior but has not made Him their Lord. In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, “The Cost of Discipleship,” he calls it cheap grace and costly grace. Bonhoeffer says that the only man who has the right to say he is saved by grace alone is the man who has given his entire life to follow Christ. Bonhoeffer, who went on to die for the cause of Christianity in Nazi Germany, called it “the grace of martyrdom”. It was a gift of grace because it was God welcoming him into His purposes, even if it was viewed as costly in the world’s eyes.

Do you live your life with the foundation of cheap grace or costly grace? The call is both serious and freeing.

By Stephen Copeland

Stephen Copeland is a staff writer for Sports Spectrum magazine. This devotional is taken from our most recent Training Table. Log in here to access our most recent Training Table. Subscribe here to receive 12 issues a year and a daily sports-related devotional.