The 12th Player
Last week saw England reach the semi-finals of Euro 2022. They beat Spain 2-1 after a nail biting extra 30 minutes of play, for which I am glad, as I was not looking forward to penalties. The first half Spain seemed to have all the possession of the ball and England couldn’t work out how to break them down. But they didn’t give up. They came out in the second half and with some incredibly tactical substitutions by the manager they got an equaliser which pushed the match into extra time and then a stunning winning goal sealed their place in the semi-finals on Tuesday evening.
I purposefully haven’t named names as it was a team effort from the goalkeeper to the strikers. Everyone on the pitch and off the pitch, the support staff and coaches have all played their part to get the team to this point in the competition.
We may not have a team of coaches and physios and support staff behind us willing us on and helping us reach our potential, but we aren’t alone either. We have family and friends and co-workers who are there to help and support us as well as God, who has promised to never leave us and to be with us always. In football, the crowd can be described as the 12th player, urging the team on to do all it can. We to, says the writer of Hebrews, have a 12th player.
Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
I like to think of these verses as all those who have gone before us are up in heaven cheering us on to be the best we can be. Whether England win the Euro’s or get knocked out in the semi-finals they can stand proud with their heads held high knowing they did all they could. Let us also be proud of who we are and continue to strive to be the best we can be in whatever we do.