Arsenal vs Aston Villa, 1st of February 2015. 5 minutes gone – 1:0 to the Arsenal. 90+2 minutes gone – 5:0 to the Arsenal. 612 minutes gone – Since Aston Villa last scored a goal.
Being a villa fan during the 2014/15 season has not been easy. We waited over 600 minutes for one goal and endured a record breaking 7 match losing streak. To remain a Villa faithful after all that has taken a great deal of stamina. But what is Stamina? Is it the size of your heart? How far you’ve come minus how far is left to go? Your ability to not stop, to just keep on going? Perhaps it’s all of these. One thing that’s certain is we’ve all got it.
I think as Christians there is a certain type of stamina in particular we have. Faith stamina. Faith stamina has its ups and its downs but it keeps us going. Our beliefs are what set us apart, what drive us forward and are what we live for.
I am an Aston Villa fan – but first I am a Christian. On match day I cheer and jeer and the next morning I cheer for a different cause. Only the cheers on Sunday should not stop there. They should come through our lives into the week, through the turnstiles and onto the stands. Our Sunday faith should be evident on match day.
Let’s switch our main focus from the match before us to those sat around us. Sure, enjoy the game! But be intentional with your faith; look to stand out to those around you.
Be a counter cultural fan – be the chap that doesn’t call the ref an expletive word when he makes a bad decision, the fan who doesn’t go too far when baiting the opposition fans, the fan who looks for the positives not the negatives in the game (believe me after over 600 minutes without a single goal, that’s a tough ask). And yes, maybe your team is losing like mine was this season. But trust me, it’s worth it.
What for? Well, its for the bloke sat two rows down from you who gets a pie every game 5 minutes before half time, or the bloke sat 5 seats behind, 3 to the left who doesn’t know the difference between a swear word and a compliment. Those guys. They are whom we have this faith stamina for. They are the blokes who a few years down the line not only will be sat around us on Saturdays at 3pm, but also on Sunday mornings as well. In the same way you dig in deep during what may turn out to be your teams record breaking losing streak, dig in deeper now in anticipation for what God has in store for you and those sat around you at the match.