I am writing this over the weekend of the 5th and 6th January, which is the weekend for the third round of the FA Cup. The Sports reports have been full of speculation about possible “giant killers”. Would there be anything to match, say, Stevenage beating Newcastle 3-1 in the third round of 2011? Well, poor Norwich and Ipswich both lost to teams in a lower league, and the shock of the weekend was that 2016 Premier League champions, Leicester City, were beaten by League Two Newport County. Such results are part of the excitement of the FA Cup – embarrassing for the team who “should have won”, but extremely exciting and lucrative too for the little Davids who topple the great Goliaths.
It is always newsworthy when the underdog wins or when somebody achieves something way above what would have been expected. You sometimes hear about famous people visiting their old school and encouraging the current pupils to dream big and not to put limits on what they hope to achieve. Well, we can’t all become Prime Minister or a Hollywood Superstar, but it is certainly good sometimes to dream dreams and to aim high.
There are inspiring Bible verses which encourage us to have great hopes and to aim high. In Philippians 3 Paul writes: “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” And then in chapter 4 Paul says: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”.
Maybe there is a challenge for each one of us in 2019 to think and pray about whether there are areas where we could make a positive difference for good, even when that might be unexpected. Is God calling us to press on towards a new goal? Sometimes it is not quite good enough to think that everything will always carry on just as we would have expected. Sometimes wonderful things can be achieved, and God might be calling us and equipping us to be part of that. It might be something different for each one of us. But how different the world might be at the end of 2019 if each of us pressed on towards that unexpected goal or prize!