One of these days Jim and I are going to fly to England and see a tennis match at Wimbledon. We make it a point to watch the matches each year, and this year was better than usual. England hasn’t been this excited since Will and Kate got married!
Queen Elizabeth was ten years old the last time someone from her country won that prized trophy. The crowd at Wimbledon is known for their decorum and traditions but Sunday, they were known for their enthusiasm. Every time Andy Murray won a point the noise was deafening. During the awards ceremony he hugged his trophy like he never wanted to let it go. It is fun to win, it is fun to receive trophies for our efforts but, like the country of England, sometimes it can be a long wait.
The All England Croquet Club was founded in 1868 and the word’s “Lawn Tennis” were added in 1876, when the game was invented by a British Army officer named Walter Wingfield. The club began giving its famous silver trophy in 1877 to the winner of the men’s final. It bears the inscription “All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Championship of the World.” No wonder it is considered the most prestigious award in tennis.
Winning Wimbledon has been Andy Murray’s goal since he was a little boy. He and his brother were raised by their mom, Judy Murray, and she is the one who taught them both to play tennis. Andy has been taking a little heat in the media because he almost forgot to hug his mom when he climbed up to the player’s box after winning. She had to get his attention as he climbed back down, but then received a genuine and well deserved hug from her son. I hope she receives some flowers and a red sports car as well. He won 1.6 million pounds which is $2,437,600 for that tennis match. (Make that a red Mercedes sports car!) She deserves a nice reward as well.
Do you ever stop to wonder what kind of rewards we will receive in heaven? James 1:12 speaks of a “crown of life.” Matthew 25:21 promises we will enter into the joy of our master. Jesus promised us we would have a room in our Father’s house (John 14:2). Jesus also said that we could rejoice and be glad, even if things are tough this side of heaven, because our hope is in the fact that our reward in heaven will be great (Matthew 5:12). My favorite promise of reward is found in Revelation 21:4. That verse says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven lately, and all that it will mean. My dad is not well and I think he will not have to wait much longer for his trophies. I even find myself making suggestions to God. Dad would love a heavenly boat, a heavenly fishing pole and a beautiful river to float down. I like to picture him fishing with someone like Johnny Cash or his grandfather. Maybe Jesus would walk on water out to their boat, pick up the fish they caught, and then fry them up on the water’s edge. Maybe Dad could share that meal with a bunch of his friends.
I’m not sure what heavenly trophies will look like – but I sure am glad my dad will get to receive his one day. I feel sad right now, but I also know God’s peace and joy for these days. Our family will “walk Dad home” and we will be all right when he reaches that destination. We believe in heaven. We believe in the promise of salvation in Christ.
It is fun to win trophies on earth, but nothing will compare to the day we are handed that crown of life. In the meantime, we live with heaven as our goal. Jesus said, “Store up for yourselves treasure in heaven . . .where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:20-21).” In other words, value those things most that will be valuable forever. I hope that thought will change one of your priorities today. I know it will mine.
Andy Murray received a wonderful trophy for having played a great tennis match. But earthly trophies tarnish and chances are, someone else will receive that same trophy next year. Whatever you do for the Lord today will matter forever – and so will your reward.
I will write again when I can. I am spending time with my folks right now – storing a little more treasure in heaven. I wish all of you a week of blessing as you focus on the matters that matter most.