On the night of July 10, 2016, France played against Portugal to vie for the coveted UEFA EURO CUP. It is history now as Portugal defeated the host nation and won the cup. Much have been written and said about that final match.
A friend of mine and his lovely wife watched the match after he requested. She obliged. Each time RONALDO made attempts to play, desperate efforts were made to hack him down. His wife started complaining early in the match. “These French guys want to injure Ronaldo so that they can easily win”. She lamented. One particular incident saw two French boys clearly go after Ronaldo’s legs. They forgot the ball. His wife kept saying :” I told you. They appear to be under instruction or conspiracy to get Ronaldo out of the match as early as possible”.
Finally , Ronaldo was out. Out on a stretcher!!!. On the 25th minute!!!. He was in tears. Fans had their hands on their heads. They seemed to say its all over for the team. Then his wife lost her cool.” These French boys are competing unfairly. This is not football again. You cannot deliberately injure a star player because you want to win”, she lamented. Finally his wife said :” God does not like unfairness. Mark it. Because of the way the French boys are going about this game, they will lose”. As if to close the matter, she said she would no longer watch the match. She slept off on the couch. He woke her up after the game. Just in time to show her the limping Ronaldo with the trophy. She only said: “I told you”. She went back to sleep.
Here we go with the LESSONS.
First, NOBODY CAN GO UP IN LIFE BY BRINGING RIVALS DOWN.
Ask the French national football team. Reconfirm from my friend’s wife. Destroying one’s colleagues will not build the destroyer up. Assassinating the character of others do not build ones character. Those who bring others down end up being brought down. God is the only ONE who can bring a person down or raise a person up (Psalm 75:6-7)
Secondly, IN ORDER TO HELP THE TEAM, LEAVE THE FIELD WHEN YOU ARE INJURED.
As soon as Ronaldo received the last knock, he signaled to the coaching crew that he should be changed. No matter how good a star is, he will harm the team if he plays injured. We have heard about some players who mask their injury and still “try” and play. When you are sick, let people know you are sick. Excuse yourself from the office. Excuse yourself from functions. It is not a sin to fall sick. If you are a pastor and you feel “empty” on a Sunday morning , do not mount that pulpit. Let your deputy stand in. You cannot “offload ” anything from an empty container.
Thirdly, AN INJURED PLAYER CAN BE USEFUL OFF THE PITCH.
Did you watch Ronaldo off the pitch? He was inspiring and encouraging the players during the two extra time breaks. He was patting them on the back. At a time the commentator said Ronaldo had become the unofficial assistant coach. He was limping around on the touchline. He seemed to be saying “They got me out of the pitch, but I am still here to inspire the rest of you to win “. Your elderly parents may be “off the pitch”, but they can still give you good counsel. Your elderly uncles, aunties, grandmas and grandpas may be “off the pitch” on account of old age but they they are still by the touchline. Experience never goes out of fashion. Listen to them.
Fourthly, WEEPING CAN BE TURNED INTO JOY. (Psalm 30:5).
Ronaldo wept like a baby when he was being stretched out. He was the captain. At 31 he knew he may not play in the next UEFA EUROPE competition in four years time. This is one trophy he had never won. And it appeared to be slipping through his fingers again. Yet within less than two hours of weeping, RONALDO was laughing big. He was beaming with smiles with the trophy and posing for shots before the world media. It could make a movie. I am not sure of what you are passing through now, but just remember the promise of God and the Ronaldo story. Soon your weeping will end and you will laugh last. Remain on the touchline.
Finally, A RELATIVELY UNKNOWN TEAM CAN BEAT A TEAM OF STARS.
Ask the Portuguese. Ask the French football team. LES BLEUS, the French national team, is an assemblage of stars. Name them. PAYET, GRIEZMANN, SAGNA, EVRA, POGBA, MATUIDI, SISSOKO, etc. Compared to the French, the Portuguese could only boast of a few established stars, (Ronaldo, Nani, Pepe). Team spirit and commitment makes the difference. Do not be intimidated by the credentials of your opponents. Pedigree is good but if you do not have it, do not feel intimidated by those who have it. Many people whose children are excelling in Harvard, Stanford, Yale or Oxford, did not themselves attend Ivy league schools. Some of the successful CEOs did not have privileged upbringing. Where you were born into has no direct relevance to where God is taking you to, if you are ready to work hard and live holy.
Recollect the face of RONALDO, limping and smiling with the TROPHY. Even if you have been “injured ” by your rivals, I declare that you will soon receive your trophy. God bless you real good.
If this has blessed you, freely share to your friends. It may encourage an “injured player”. God willing, we will soon hear each others testimonies.