Have you ever coached a sport? Do you want to coach a sport? Has anyone ever coached you? Have you coached the coach (ouch)? Coaching is an interesting responsibility and carries with it some unique risks and rewards. Today you can find all kinds of coaches, such as business coaches, health coaches, life coaches, sports coaches, etc. A coach usually has the role of helping the one being coached to see or do things they may not be able to do on their own.
We have all witnessed the local neighborhood sporting league. Imagine for a moment that you are coaching a team of young children playing soccer for the very first time in their lives. The team is made up of little boys and girls around five years old. The coaches’ goal is to introduce them to the game they have chosen (or their parents have chosen for them) and learn to play it. The coaches’ intentions are clear, to teach them the sport and develop them into the ruling champions of the neighborhood’s soccer league, usually sponsored by a local business such as Rob’s Rib Shack. The rules are clear, the objectives are defined, the goals are obvious and the reward can be epic.
I have noticed that coaches sometimes have the very best lines, so quotable and so thought provoking. The lines are often quoted in speeches and memorialized in hallway posters. We all remember John F. Kennedy inspiring us with the, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” speech, or William Wallace’s half painted face inspiring his little army by saying, “Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you’ll live, at least a while…. but they’ll never take our freedom!” We hear the coach come up with wisdom that is almost spiritual as he/she inspires a downtrodden team, individual or nation on the brink of great defeat, to overcome their circumstances (or at least try).
We all remember quotes from coaches like Vince Lombardi, Tony Robbins, Billy Jean King, Peter Drucker, Mother Teresa, and even Adrian telling Rocky to “win” followed by Mickey saying, “what are we waiting fer?” Perhaps it’s the sheer clarity of the moment that captures their imagination and inspires ours. The boundaries are set, the goal is identified, the time is limited and the crowds are watching.
What is it about inspiring words that make us stand, walk and run? Perhaps we are all in a search for a greater purpose than just our own happiness, comfort and desires. God has deeply ingrained in us a deep desire to be meaningful, to matter, to create… It’s part of the whole, “created in His image” truth. The notion that we are created by God ought to create in us a deep desire to possess His purpose for us.
If you want possession…
Recently, I heard a quote from a sporting coach. The quote, from the nameless coach went something like, “If you want possession, you must be in position.” The quote caught my attention as I personalized it. What is it that I want to possess? What position must I be in to possess it? What position am I in now? I don’t have fully defined answers, but I can say that I do deeply want to possess what God has for me.
I have been taught all my life that God has created me for a purpose. I am no accident and yet, I often feel that. The times I have been the most hopeless, despondent, agitated and frankly, discouraged, is when I felt as though I did not matter. Perhaps you have been in such a place as an employee, husband, mother, Christ-follower and family member. We have all been there.
I remember asking a man that is one of my “heroes of the faith,” George Verwer (founder of Operation Mobilization), if he ever got discouraged as a Christian and questioned his purpose. He said he did, even to the point of wondering if God even existed. I was amazed at that answer. George’s entire life has been focused on mobilizing people to serve God and yet, Satan, would tempt him in a way to make him believe that if God did not exist then his entire life was a waste of time… mobilizing people for something that did not exist. WOW! However, George went on to explain that he would climb out of the pit of despair by remembering the promises of God and admiring His creation, and step by step he would climb out of the pit. God is so, so faithful that even when we find ourselves in the wrong position, He is always in the right one, even rescuing us out of a pit.
So, what is it that I want to possess? Simply put, I want the purpose and peace of God ingrained in my heart. I want to possess and experience the knowledge that my purpose and peace comes from Him and only Him. However, am I in the position to possess it?
You must be in position
The position to possess is an interesting thought. For example, in sports an athlete that is part of a team and has the specific role of catching a well-thrown pass must be in the right place at the right time to actually catch the ball. A tennis player must be on the right part of the court in order to return the well-placed serve, an executive must be in the right frame of mind to hear what his/her coach may suggest, a well-prepared student must be ready and willing to understand a new concept. What is the right position for me to be in to possess what God is giving me?
I am learning (never learned) that the best position for me to be in as a follower of Jesus is a responsive one. I would suggest that a responsive position carries with it a few simple principals. First, I must be humble and teachable, acknowledging that I am in need. Second, I must devoid myself of distractions, those things that point me back to me instead of Him. Lastly, I ought to be expectant, looking for the handoff, the new idea, concept etc.?
I recently visited a vocational school in Jamaica called PAVE. The school, founded by friends of mine, was birthed with the desire to help at-risk young people gain an employable skill in order to make better lives for themselves. I was blessed as I saw the expressions of these young men and women. The level of commitment and sacrifice to dream a bigger dream. Many apply to this school, few get in. I recognized their humility, their commitment to be devoid of distractions and the great expectation that they could have a career in hospitability, security, the trades, etc. I can hear those students saying to their teacher and coach that often-overheard phrase, “Put me in coach!” Or Isaiah saying to the Lord, “Here am I send me.” I wonder if the same can be said of you and me. I must be in the position to be in possession.
Stephan N. Tchividjian is the president and founder of the National Christian Foundation South Florida. Visit southflorida.ncfgiving.com to learn more.
Read more articles by Stephan Tchividjian at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/author/stephan-tchividjian/