If you look closely, sports can be one of the most effective trainers of good missionaries, leaders, and disciples of Jesus Christ. Almost every sport I play makes me think about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Read on…and I think you’ll see it to. I’m going to give you just a few examples in some of the major sports and leave the rest to your own imagination. Just remember that the Lord is “the good coach”.
I know this sport best, so that is why it’s first on my list. There are so many life lessons in baseball that it almost gets me emotional every time I play it or watch it. The whole game is setup like the Plan of salvation. The purpose of the game is to “make it home”. Do you remember when the Los Angeles Angels won the world series with a bunch of misfits? Yeah…it was because each of them were focused on a common goal, and that was “getting people home.” Now they have a bunch of stars and they can barely stay above 500. The San Francisco Giants did the same thing. How many rings does Barry Bonds have? Zero! What happened after Bonds left and the payroll was nil? 2 World series wins in 3 years. A scrappy, hungry, unselfish team is not focused on money or personal glory. They become brothers and they lay it all on the line for each other. You never…ever want to “leave a man stranded” on base. Ever! You crowd the plate and get hit, you lay down a bunt, you hit a sacrifice fly, or a ground ball to the right side but your whole purpose in life when someone is on base is to GET THEM HOME! It is the little sacrifices, “small ball,” as some call it, that causes the most disturbances for the opposing team.
God knows that if He can assemble a team of unselfish players that are willing to sacrifice and give it their all, He can win on any given night. Players that aren’t worried about their on base percentage or batting average are thinking about only one thing; finding a way to get their brothers home!
In baseball, there are certain steps that a person must go through in order to make it home. They must go “line upon line” and “precept upon precept” around the bases. There are no cutting corners…for anyone. It is also understood that for the most part, you’ll need the help of others in order to get you home. You’re served, and then you serve. Each player “picks up” the other player at different times throughout the game. They are performing vicarious work by doing things for others that they cannot do for themselves.
Offensive tackles are among the highest paid players in the NFL. Why? They protect the quarterback’s “blind side”. [Most people didn’t know this until Sandra Bullock told them in the movie Blind Side]. They do a job that rarely gets recognized or glorified but they must sacrifice themselves play in and play out for the good of the offense.
Have you ever seen a really great play unfold and all the cameras and announcers focus on is the quarterback, running back or wide receiver? While everyone is running with their cameras to the end zone to carry off the player with the winning catch, “the good coach” is running quietly to congratulate the guy that laid down a key block that made the entire play possible. The “good coach” goes over and gives the guy a hug because he’s smart enough to know that they would have lost the game if this guy didn’t make the sacrifice that he did. That coach knows that it’s the little things, even the things that nobody ever sees or recognizes that makes all the difference in the game. The world won’t give you a medal and you won’t hold the MVP trophy but “your good coach” and other smart players will know just how much you were worth to that team.
People that don’t understand basketball will only marvel at the deep threes and high flying dunks. “The good coach” and basketball purists will see the timely picks and screens, the relentless defense, and the consistent box out for rebounds. The good coach knows that these little things win ball games.
In the game of life, God “The Good Coach”, doesn’t care whether you signed a big contract or got your name in the record books. All He cares about is getting people home and winning this game! He weeps for anyone who is “stranded on base”. In sports…only your pride is on the line, but in the game of life…souls are on the line. The team that establishes a camaraderie and a love for each other wants to win for each other and for “the good coach”. They become willing to do anything for each other in order to accomplish the purposes of the team. They “forget themselves” as individuals and unite around the common goal. They do the little things right and everything else falls into place.
Yes…I believe that God is a huge sports fan, and that in the game of life…He is “the Good Coach”.