“Moral character makes for smooth traveling;
an evil life is a hard life.”
– Proverbs 11:5 (The Message)
Do athletics build character? Many of us might laugh and say, “It must, because I sure have a lot of characters on my team!” But let’s get serious for a minute. As a coach, is building character an important part of your program? I’ve heard it said that athletics can both build character and tear it down. If that’s the case what makes the difference. I believe the difference is leadership. What does that kind of leadership look like? An example of the kind of leadership that produces character was demonstrated recently when a veteran football coach stood before his team following their victory in the state championship game. “I don’t want this to be the main thing you do in your life”, he told his athletes, “I want you to make something of your life. I don’t want this to be your highlight and go downhill from here. If you can do this, you can do anything if you just keep applying the same work habits, same discipline and making the same choices.” Coaches like this see a bigger picture.
The Bible contains many examples of men and women of great character. A thorough reading will produce an equal number of poor examples. So what make the difference? Once again, I believe the difference is leadership. One question we must constantly ask ourselves is this, “Who are we following?” Following Jesus produces the kind of character that makes our travels in this life a little less hazardous. It doesn’t mean our life will be easy, just that we will probably have better work habits, be more disciplined and more likely to make good life choices. For those who chose to be characters rather than have character, scripture says, life will be harder than it has to be. The life modeled by Jesus paints a bigger picture. Jesus doesn’t want us to settle for an average life or one that’s highlighted by one win or one glorious season. Jesus came to show us how to live an abundant life, a life filled with continuous blessings and opportunities to be a blessing in the lives of others.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the wisdom in Your Word. Teach me to see the bigger picture of life. Give me the courage to be a coach of character to those whom I influence each day. Amen.
(Dedicated to Coach Jerry Brown, a coach of character who sees the bigger picture.)