Seekest Thou Great Things for Thyself?

Where will we be most useful for the kingdom and where ought we to join are questions all Christians should ask.

My friend, Mike Tindall, used to frequently quote his former boss: ‘everyone needs a salary or a round of applause.’ Footballers are no exception and, sadly, the church often follows suit. Few are prepared to go to the unknown church, labouring in obscurity, that can neither afford to fund you nor give you a leg up in the world of Conservative Evangelicalism.


As I was looking at the latest football news, I saw Manchester United were linked to a couple of players. Antoine Griezmann – the player leaving Atletico Madrid in the summer – and Matthijs De Ligt, the Ajax captain who narrowly lost to Tottenham in the Champions League semi-final. Hilariously (for me, anyway, as a Liverpool fan), the report linking them both to Man Utd ended with the rather more ominous statement that the club believe both will join Barcelona.

I had an interesting discussion the other day with a Man Utd supporting pal of mine. He insisted that, because of Man Utd’s great history, they will certainly be able to pull in top players in the off-season. But as any Liverpool fan will tell you, our club with a similar prestigious history, struggled to recruit anybody world class the moment we slipped out of the top 4 Champions League spaces. Our history counted for naught when faced with the reality that we couldn’t get ourselves back into the Champions League. This is essentially the position United are now in. Faced with a choice between one of the biggest clubs in the world playing Champions League football and a club with a great history but no prospect of any European football, the choice is rarely a difficult one in the end. Whilst exorbitant wages provide some draw, they won’t make up for sitting in a team that will cause your stock to rapidly drop and keep you out of the biggest stage in football.

But you know this post isn’t principally about the travails of Manchester United, no matter how much schadenfreude I derive from it. I was interested in how we often emulate the same line of thinking when it comes to the church. Where will we be most useful for the kingdom and where ought we to join are questions all Christians should ask. But much as in the world of football, it tends to be easy to figure out where people will gravitate.

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