Luke 15:7 - (Jesus said) "Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."
The KFA, that is, the Korea Football Association, went to Russia to play in Soccer's World Cup.
When they left home, the players had every reason, at least every hope in the world, to think they might do well at these incredibly prestigious games.
To paraphrase the poet Robert Burns: the best laid plans of mice and the Korea Football Association often go astray.
Well, South Korea's plans of one victory following another, definitely went astray. Actually, they never were able to get on track, so they could go astray.
* Their first game was against Sweden. They lost that game with a score of 1-0.
* Their second game was waged against Mexico. They lost that second match by a score of 2-1.
* Their final match was against Germany: the powerhouse which had won all the marbles the year before. In a stunning and incredibly unexpected reversal of fortune, South Korea emerged victorious from the conflict.
Unfortunately, the upset victory was too little, too late.
A defeated, dejected South Korean team found themselves on a jet as, for the second year in a row, they were sent home early.
The national welcome of the team at the airport was less than overwhelming. Oh, it's true, the families and friends of the team turned out to welcome home the players. But there were no victory speeches, no ticker-tape parades promised, no special gifts or awards given.
Indeed, some distraught fans threw eggs at the team as they came together at Incheon Airport for a final photograph. It took a day or so, but eventually the Korea Football Association decided not to press charges and let everybody go home and forget the whole thing.
That story saddened me a little bit, but then I got to wondering what is it going to be like for us when we enter the pearly gates of heaven? Think about it a minute. When it comes to doing the resisting of temptation, or giving a good witness to the Savior, or supporting His workers or, well, in hundreds of things, we have not posted the greatest of records.
Like Paul says we don't do the good we want and end up doing the evil we should avoid (see Romans 7:19).
So, what kind of greeting are we going to get in heaven?
Is St. Peter going to toss a couple of goose eggs our way? Will Andrew bring up a boy whose basket is filled with pullet eggs rather than loaves and fishes? What kind of greeting will we get?
In our text, Jesus said the angels rejoice when we repent. If that's so -- and it is -- I also have to believe they're pretty happy when we make it past our time of temptation, past the life in which we could have fallen away and are successfully brought to the place our Savior has prepared.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, it is Your plan which saves, Your Son's sacrifice which forgives, Your Holy Spirit who calls and keeps us. May we be grateful to You in this world and the next. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by the staff of Reuters on July 3, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-soccer-worldcup-kor-eggs/kfa-decides-against-punishing-egg-throwers-idUSKBN1JT0KZ
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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