As many of you know I have a tradition of going down to the AFL Grand Final with my brothers to watch the game. Well this year was no different – apart from one of my brothers, who will not be named because he is now dead to me, not being able to make it this year. But that didn’t stop us from going and having a blast.
So what we do is go and camp out the night before the game as the MCC allocate a certain number of walk up tickets and the only way of getting the best seats and sitting together is to get there early – real early!!! This year we sat 2nd row from the fence right next the Sydney players race. This is also where all the pre-game entertainers go on and off the ground. This year there was Vance Joy, The Living End and Sting…they were pretty good seats, even got to high 5 Vance Joy and one of the other guys that we go with got some drum sticks off The Living End’s drummer (I’m sure he would’ve have already flogged them off on eBay!!! He’s not even a drummer!!!)
Apart from enjoying the game, and what a Grand Final it was, we thought we’d stay for the after game entertainment, so my brother and the others we were with, went back to the car to drop off their bags and jackets etc. whilst I stayed where we sat and waited for them. So there I was, pretty much all alone in the members bay, just taking a few moments to myself when one of the entertainers, Vance Joy, walked up the race…
Now as a side, my son Seth plays the Ukulele. One of the songs he plays all the time, and I mean all the time…is Vance Joy’s song “Riptide”. But recently he has struggled for a little motivation to pick up his Uke, and practice, even with mum and dad doing their best to encourage him…
So again here I was in my seat with Vance Joy waiting to go on the ground for the after game entertainment. So I waited and just quietly observing what was going on, trying to act a little nonchalant, when I caught the eye of Vance who was only a meter away from me. I politely said hello, and that I had enjoyed his performance, to which he smiled and said “thanks”. I then said to him how Seth plays his song all the time on the Uke, which he was politely impressed with. I then asked him if he would be happy to send a message to Seth by way of a video to give Seth some encouragement to keep on playing his instrument, to which he was more than happy to agree to!!! So I recorded the message, thanked him and wished him all the best before he went on.
I sent the message to Seth, who by all reports was over the moon to get a message from the guy who wrote the song that he plays and sings!!! Needless to say, Seth has not put down his Uke since and has in fact learnt 2 other songs which he now plays every day!!!!
I share this story to illustrate a couple of things. Firstly, hearing directly from the person is different, if not better than hearing it second hand. You know what – God uses all believers to help each other in our walk, and he speaks through us all but how good is it when God speaks directly to us, when we pray or read his Word, or through an impression or prompting? It gives us so much confidence and assurance to do what we need to do. And secondly – a little encouragement goes a long way. God’s word is full of encouragements. It is full of promises that should spur us on. So too us as believers should also try to encourage one another the way God encourages us. As the Apostle Paul writes “let us spur one another on to love and good deeds…” (Hebrews 10:24). A little encouragement spurs us on. A little encouragement reminds us of our passion and renews our resolve. It helps us get back on track and put into practice the things that we have learnt. It helps us know that we are not alone.
Now the trip to Melbourne for the Grand Final was a great day, an even better game, and all in all it was well worth the effort in making the pilgrimage again, but who’d have thought I would be reminded about being encouraged directly from the Lord and to be an encourager of others from a football game!!!! God teaches us things in everything we do doesn’t he!!!!!