Benefits of Cheering for the Winning Team

I’ll admit, I had never even heard of New Zealand’s “All Blacks” rugby team until I visited the country a few weeks ago. But it didn’t take long for me to become a fan. Rugby Fever had clearly captivated New Zealand, and nearly everyone seemed to rise at 5 a.m. to watch the match against South Africa, broadcast from London.

Today I was rewarded for my newfound allegiance to the All Blacks. They made history by beating Australia 34-17 in the Rugby World Cup final.

If you’re wondering what any of this has to do with YOU, stay tuned while I tell you about two other teams I’ve been cheering for this fall. For the first time in forever, BOTH the Carolina Panthers and Ohio State Buckeyes are undefeated at this point in the season. Amazing…

So what’s the point of this?

I’ve been thinking about the importance of cheering for the winning team—not so much in sports, but in life. We all have choices to make about the political candidates, the lifestyles, and the values we will align ourselves with.

And it sure feels good when our “team” ends up winning.

But most of the time we don’t know in advance whether our team, our cause, or our candidate will win or lose. Fortunately, in the case of the All Blacks match today, I recorded it rather than watching live. So by the time I actually viewed the match, I already knew the outcome.

If you believe what the Bible says, this has great significance. In the final chapters, we’re told that God ends up winning—and overwhelmingly so. Those of us who align ourselves with the Lord and His purposes will experience this ultimate victory as well.

However, most of us have had times when we’re not really sure whether we’re on the winning team. There seem to be losses…setbacks…disappointments along the way. Sometimes we lose elections, Supreme Court decisions, and public debates, and it’s tempting to think the devil and the forces of evil are winning the game.

That’s why it’s so important to have confidence in the final outcome, no matter what may be going on around us. Sure, we don’t know how all the details will play out along the way. But we can be assured that when the dust settles and the final score is tallied, our God will be sitting on the throne, reigning over His creation (Revelation 4:1-2). All the kingdoms of this world—even the ones ruled by ruthless despots today—are destined to become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ (Revelation 11:15).

And I learned one more lesson from the All Blacks…

It was a stunning to see an entire nation united  in support of one team. It’s been a long time since I’ve experienced such intense national unity in America, even during the Olympics.

Watching New Zealand’s allegiance to their national rugby team made me wonder what would happen if every professing Christian in America had that kind of passionate devotion to the cause of Christ. Instead of being splintered by our diverse denominations, doctrines, and congregations, what if we were united with passion to crown Jesus as our King?

Far too many of us have split loyalty, hedging our bets about which kingdom we will support. Hard as it might be at times, why not believe the Bible and throw our allegiance wholeheartedly to the winning team?