But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”
– Matthew 20:25-28 (ESV)
Motivation could be defined as “the inclination to pursue and persist.” In simple terms, that means to “get after it” and “stay after it.” In today’s world, it’s more difficult than ever to motivate athletes. It’s harder to get players to come out and stay out. Players will quit in a heartbeat. If asked why, the replies include too much work, being burned out or simply not having fun. They miss practice, they give up when the team starts struggling, and they complain about wanting more touches or playing time. As coaches, we know all about the X’s and O’s. We know that having the “Jimmy’s and Joe’s” is important too. Wise coaches are exploring new ways to get athletes out and keep them out. They’re discovering a better way. Smart coaches are taking the time to build relationships with their athletes and they’re getting to know them on and off the field or court. They’re learning to be servant leaders.
Jesus had some challenges with His team too. The disciples all wanted to be great and Jesus seized the opportunity to explain what it takes to be great. He told them their thinking was misguided. Greatness is not about having more knowledge or being in a position of authority. Jesus explained that in His Kingdom things would be different. The ticket to greatness is service. Whoever wants to be great must first become a servant to others. God has not put us in our coaching position with the sole purpose of mastering the X’s and O’s or winning games. He wants us to make an eternal difference in the lives of the young men and women we coach. Jesus calls us not only to coach them, but to love them and serve them.
Father, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to model how to serve others. Teach me to be a servant leader. Use me in powerful ways to make an eternal difference in the lives of others. Amen.