God really is the only game in town

September 29, 2017

New Life Baptist Church minister Jono Schroder. Photo by Luke Hemer.

THE AFL grand final is here and it’s always a special occasion.

Tomorrow is extra special however, because the two clubs involved have endured such a long premiership drought.

Even more remarkable because none of the 44 players running out onto the MCG on Saturday have ever played a part in an AFL grand final.

That’s for real, neither team has a single player who has participated on the last day in September.

This is an incredible fact, a first in AFL history, and will add to the delight of the winning side as they walk off the ground.

Conversely, the loser will be left devastated at a dream unfulfilled.

This year has certainly been a strange one in the AFL at large.

It’s been tough to predict who would win from week-to-week and no serious footy pundit in their right mind had calculated a Richmond-Adelaide grand finale.

That combination was unheard of at the beginning of the year, but that’s where things have landed.

Another feature of 2017 is the talented list of retirees, a brigade that includes Luke Hodge, Nick Reiwoldt, Matt Priddis, Jobe Watson, Sam Mitchell and Scott Thompson, plus more.

It’s hard to recall such a decorated list of players departing the scene simultaneously.

One retiree though is especially unfortunate, captain of the Western Bulldogs, Robert Murphy.

For 312 games he gave his all, but the ultimate prize eluded him.

Murphy leaves the game, having never played in a premiership team, even though his side played off, and won, just last year.

Sadly he was injured at the time, so he missed out on the grand final. Life hardly seems fair at times.

In the Bible we find reference to this very dilemma, people who lived their entire lives not receiving the things they’d dreamed of and worked tirelessly for. They lived well, putting their full trust in God, believing they would see a reward for their dedicated service.

Their best efforts seemingly went to no avail; their desired outcome was never realised. Hebrews 11 records: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised [by God]”.

They died with their dreams unfulfilled.

That sounds rather morbid if the story ended there, but it didn’t. Their ultimate outcome was anything but sad, eternity saw their just reward, in heaven.

Now, a Richmond win tomorrow would sure be exciting.

However, God invites us into something far more permanent, a relationship that delivers eternal joy.

It comes to anyone who puts their faith and trust in Jesus — and the delight is endless.

It’s so much better than an AFL premiership.

I dare to claim that 100 years from tomorrow nobody will recall one single player involved.

Could anyone name a player from the 1917 winning team?

I didn’t think so.

Go ahead and enjoy the game tomorrow.

But just remember where lasting satisfaction is found.

Jonathon Schroder,

New Life Baptist Church

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