The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! Matthew 13:44-46 NLT

Did you watch any of the final games of this year’s World Cup in Qatar?

I didn’t. But we started googling the outcome of each day’s matches during dinner prep. I’d say, “Mike, what happened in World Cup today?” 

This world-captivating sports spectacle would have passed me by, were it not for my friend Roberto from Argentina. He and I connect several times a week as he practices his English, and I my Spanish.  It’s through Roberto that I have learned all that I now know about soccer.  My world has expanded!

Normally, I would have rooted for France in last week’s final, because I have loved France and the French language ever since I was 14 years old.  But, with a closer personal connection to Argentina, I turned my back on France (à tous mes amis français, je m’excuse!) and supported Argentinia.

Mike and I arrived at church on Sunday just as the competing champions jumped into this last battle for the FIFA  2022 World Cup trophy. I didn’t pray for Argentina to win.  But I did hope that this country so needing some good news would pull it off with Messi’s prowess.

Thank you, Jesus, that Argentina did have a good day and the entire country has been celebrating, temporarily distracted from their government’s devastating financial policies.

Yet, more than the victory, what has stunned me is learning just how life-enhancing many Argentinians deemed their presence IN Qatar would be.  According to a European day-after analysis of the game, I heard that a lot of these South American soccer fans had sold homes, or postponed buying a car just to buy an airplane ticket to the Middle East to cheer on their team.

Not sure that this was true, I searched on line and found the following report:

Argentinians who forewent buying a car or a house and took all their money.

After confirming this over-the-top passion for their country’s national team, the Holy Spirit caused me to see our innate driving human passion and desire for the sublime.  If some fans would sell all they owned for an experience as fleeting as World Cup soccer, then I have to ask myself, “Maria, just how excited ARE you that you actually have received, free of cost, such a great salvation and place in God’s forever Kingdom, namely the one ruled by King Jesus?”

May my joy over this gift from God at least come up to the ‘it’s-worth-all-I-have’ level of some of Argentina’s fans for their boys.