I will set shepherds over them who will care for them,
and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed,
neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.
– Jeremiah 23:4 (ESV)
Some of the most influential people in my life have been coaches. It was a coach who instilled in me a love for sports. It was a coach who spent time with me and encouraged me. It was a coach who taught me to play with passion and joy! It was a coach who taught me that the team is always more important than the individual. It was a coach who taught me how to win graciously and to lose with dignity. It was a coach who helped me get my first teaching and coaching job. It was a coach who taught me that being a coach is about much more than winning and losing a game. It was a coach who challenged me to serve the Lord full-time through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I thank God that I’ve always had responsible shepherds in my life who have encouraged, challenged and held me accountable. Coaches have always been there when I needed them. They never let me wander too far or stay in the wrong place too long.
While the world may not see the shepherd life as very important, God sees it differently. Good shepherds protect and care for their sheep. They take their job seriously because they realize that God has placed them in a position of responsibility. It’s not happenstance or a coincidence that the shepherd is called to perform his task. The Bible says that God “appoints” shepherds. Appointments usually come after careful consideration of one’s qualifications and aptitude for the job. There are often many candidates that apply, but only a few are chosen. As coaches, I think God wants us to see and understand the importance of the “appointment” He has given each of us. Wherever we find ourselves serving, know that He has placed us there. To the best of our ability, we are to look after and protect the sheep He has placed in our care. Each of us will be held accountable for how we handle this appointment.
Lord, thank You for calling me to shepherd Your flock. Give me wisdom and strength today as I go about the task You have appointed me to. Amen.