I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. – Proverbs 4:11 (ESV)
Mother’s Day is special! Though my mother is no longer physically alive, she is still very much alive in my heart. She had a tremendous influence on my life and I am grateful for everything she did to make me a better person. One of the things I remember most was her patience with my love for sports. We spent hours discussing the batting averages of my favorite baseball players. She lovingly sewed the number 44 on the football jersey I received for Christmas one year so I could wear the same number as my professional football hero. Mom was as excited as I was when we made our annual trip to see the Atlanta Braves play each summer. I don’t know if mom loved sports, but I do know she loved me! She willingly gave her time and support to the things I enjoyed. We talked endlessly about sports, but we also talked a great deal about the things that are important in life. She shared her wisdom and helped keep me on the right path during my youth.
As coaches, we too have countless opportunities to teach wisdom and guide our athletes along the right path. Are we making the most of them? Are we making ourselves available when they come to us seeking answers to difficult questions? Are we concerned about their spiritual development as much as we are about their athletic development? Are we there for them when they need a helping hand and a timely word of encouragement? While winning will always be important, so is being a positive influence, a good listener, and a spiritual leader to those we serve. Do we love our players? Are we looking solely at the physical gifts and talents of our athletes or are we looking at them the way God looks at us all, with love?
Lord, above everything else, teach me to love those I serve as You love me. Amen.