August 6, 2018

by Paul J Banta

Philippians 4:10-14 says, “How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me.  Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.  Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.” – NLT

I’ve often have often thought, “Could it be possible with the many Christian coaching soccer that allot of us around the world might be found doing just a status quo job in living out our relationship with God that is more characterized by ‘business as usual’ than a life demonstrating God’s power running through our arteries and veins. I must self-confess that many years ago I was one of them.  My focus was often characterized more by my concern with improving the standard of my player’s abilities to raise higher levels of the match performance to do nothing more than winning matches. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what’s first in our lives as coaches and players will determine our destiny? Is first in your life center around serving God to improve His Kingdom through your ability to influence others or are you waiting to get real smart first to better prepare yourself for serving God one day in the future? Do we put a lot of our efforts into our soccer rather than where our Lord wants us to be in the moment and what He’s designed us?

Recently a Christian soccer coach and friend of mine told me his tragic story about coaching in this game for years, and he concluded it had been all about him and the need to be successful.  He mentioned that he recently had been read a book written by the author who told that had lived the same way for many years as well.  In the writings, the author wrote a quote, “For Thee Lord and not for me.”  He had realized what he had been doing and where his life and coaching had been going, and it wasn’t about God’s plan for his life. A miracle took place as he realized that his calling in the game wasn’t about the wins and loose column, but more importantly, he found out the winning lives is more about being a significant person that God had designed us to be rather than a successful coach who can only win matches.  That author was me. I always say that if God could have changed me, he can do it for any coach out there. He is able, so competent.

While this type of stuff takes place in 100’s of coaches, live affecting them tragically off the path, God intended they fall desperately and completely short of God’s calling and purpose for them. In the meantime, thousands of players don’t hear the saving grace of Christ. This is a serious matter that I have to address in our lives as coaches, and my prayer is that those reading this and passing this devotion onto others prayerfully consider at what level are we do this game FOR THEE and NOT ME. God has called each of us to this game to live for a cause greater than ourselves and a life that is dependent on His grace and power of the Holy Spirit living in us and who never leaves us or forsake us to achieve things we never thought never possible through our power. This is His plan for our lives coaches and players.

The apostle Paul prayed that He might experience the power of the resurrection in His life. This power is available to you and me to live for a cause greater than ourselves. Ask God what He wants to achieve through your life today, next week, next month, next year and actual for your remaining days in this game until you see our Lord face to face. He’ll be saying, “Come on in, I loved you and appreciated you so much for playing on my team for that brief time you were on the earth. Your eternity is about to start.”

What’s your next move?