Unfortunately, this week only a translation is available by a computer program without guarantee for the correct translation. I´m sorry!

Heart and soul

You know, that many runners enter a race, and only one oft them wins the prize. So run to win! 1 Corinthians 9:24 

Dear readers,

Has anyone ever told you - the work colleague, the boss or a friend - that he is arrogant? I confess, I sometimes thought of others. But rarely not me.

Joachim Loew, the coach of the German national football team, has spoken publicly about his arrogance. He was "almost arrogant". At the Football World Cup 2018 with the help of the coach the German Team quietly got down without any sound in the first round.

Loew's big misjudgment was, according to him, to be able to reach the next round with a defensive game. Millions of professionals like me sat in front of the TV and did not hardly believe their eyes, as the German team bored the balls from left to right and pushed back again. In the final, France became world champion, highly deserved! Congratulations!

Now the national coach wants to rekindle our national team with "heart and soul”, with passion.

Had it been ancient football, Paul would probably have been coach of 1.FC Corinth. He was a spiritual coach for that church. He wanted to bring these Christians forward in faith! That's why he encourages them passionately to trust God. Passionately loving God and fellow human beings. He compares the faith in God with an ancient contest. The athletes then fought for the victory wreath. As disciplined as the athletes today, they focused on the goal: gold medal!

But Paul does not require a sweaty Christian training program that says, "Being in the church every day and night". Faith is not a religious high-performance sport. You can not earn or fight the heaven.

The goal of living forever with God is always a gift. For this, Jesus Christ died on the cross. He suffered and bled there for all the arrogant. On the cross Jesus died for all who play professionally and privately in the "Champions League". He died for those who are tired and bored on the playing field "My Life" stumbling around. He died for those who constantly are shooting on own goal, ever and ever. For those who have been shipwrecked with their misjudgments. No, nobody can earn the "heavenly prize".

But who will be forgiven by Jesus Christ is invited to trust God with passion. To live this faith with dedication. Passionately loving God and fellow human beings.

Sounds good, but it can be hard! I have become aware of this with a rule from biblical wisdom literature. I read the following sentence (in a modern translation from German “Gute-Nachricht-Bibel”):

"Son, care for your father when he is old; do not worry him, as long as he lives. Be lenient with him when his mind diminishes; do not look down on him because you are still strong and powerful! - The Lord will not forget you when you are merciful with your father. He who abandons his father is just like one who blasphemes against God. And whoever offends his mother, over him comes the curse of the Lord. " (Sirach 3: 12-13)

To be patient with the old father, or the old mother. Even if the parents have become forgetful, maybe even demented. To remain merciful in dealing with mother and father, when they have become dependent on care. Passionately compassionate, passionately patient, passionately forgiving. Not condescending, not looking down, not arrogant.

Older people suffer when they have to say goodbye to an independent, self-determined life. Loving them in their weakness just then can become a big daily challenge. To love them with devotion in their weaknesses can be a great daily challenge. If you love so much, everyday life can be very challenging.

But we have a great privilege: we can ask God for strength and love. That is a request to his will. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can love forgivingly and mercifully. So run to win!

Joachim Loew needs players with heart and soul. God is looking for people who love devotionally, with heart and soul.

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© 2020 Hans-Peter Nann, Frankfurt am Main