June 15, 2017

By Paul J Banta

“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.  You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.  So, every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.” – Matthew 7:15-19 (NLT)

soccer ministriesRemember, the Bible says others will know or hear about you of the good things (fruits) of your work ethics. If you’re that honest coach you need to be, you might admit most of your efforts goes into winning the next match rather than winning the next soul and then disciple that person to mature them in their new faith. For many years, I was blinded by my poor choices and did not use what God wanted me to use for Him in the game. My faith for His purpose in me was a huge zero. I saw only the importance of winning the matches and as many as I could. The idea of casting a vision for Christ through my coaching was lifeless, and I didn’t have a clue how to breath for this to happen for my last breath would only to have sacrificed for winning a match. Where are you standing today when you plan your practices and hold your position on the sideline to watch your players have success.

Now and then, when I see or Facebook or email or phone up past players. I tell them, “What a privilege it was for me to coach you. I appreciated you so much and how you served the team and me so well, but I failed you. Would you forgive me?” I tell them how I was so self-centered on the game that I forgot one part to share with you. When they asked, “What part was that, Coach?” I tell them about Jesus. It interesting how after the years have gone by with many of past players they now know I’m a Christian and many have gone that way. Thanks, be to the Father and His Son Christ.

You can’t influence players for Christ without serving Him and by using the faith that He has prepared and designed to fit your personality. The game is more than the match itself.  It’s about your life—how you help God affect the lives of your players for eternity. Just coaching a good training session has nothing to do with winning the match. The match is just one aspect of the work God wants you to do, so Biblical values should guide all your efforts for His plan for those you influence. Oh, the aches and tears I have had at times, knowing that years of neglecting Christ and failing to do what I should have done for Him could result in many of my past players never being in heaven with the other guys who are now believers and me. But God is sovereign, and my prayer is that many will still be His. I would love to see them all in heaven one day. What a powerful team! God only knows. Put God first and never last.

What’s your next move?