Wednesday Devotion ~ Matthew 4:1-11

Our Scripture reading for this week is Matthew 4:1-11, the story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness before after He was baptized and before He started His ministry.

There are several nuggets for us to glean as followers of Christ and as coaches.

We learn in this passage that we, like Jesus, are to “stand strong” in the face of temptation.  When we are faced with temptation let’s remember to lean on God, and not turn our backs on Him.  The “tempter” will visit us, just like the “tempter” visited Jesus, and like Jesus we need to be ready to combat these attacks.  Jesus used Scripture to do this, and provides for us an example of why know Scripture in our soul is very important.  We may need to quote Scripture to refute the advances of the evil one, or at least utter the words “away from me Satan!”

I read that Jesus was a person of integrity and convictions.  Jesus did not go against what He knew to be true in God.  As coaches we are role models and are to set the example for the athletes entrusted to our care, just like Jesus did with His disciples.  We recognize a great need to have integrity as we coach our teams, making sure our yes is yes and our no is no, and making sure we don’t say anything we aren’t willing to follow through on.  I recognize the need to be willing and able to only ask and expect of our teams what we ask and expect of ourselves.  Let’s make sure we are modeling our moral integrity and convictions of faith and belief.

Jesus was focused on the eternal value.  He could have given in to the devil’s pleas on chosen a different path, but instead He looked at the eternal significance of what He needed to do and instead chose to honor God and focus on eternal value.  As we keep our focus on God and as we work with the athletes on our team as Christ-centered coaches we need to focus on the eternal ramifications.  The young people we coach are either already brothers or sisters in Christ, or potential brothers and sisters in Christ, and we need to interact with them as such.  We must understand that in the process of coaching we can’t say or do things that will harm the opportunity for our athletes to know the love of God.  We have to focus on the eternal, everlasting life with Jesus Christ.

To be sure we will be tested in our coaching and life endeavors as well.  I know I have been and will continue to be.  While I often don’t respond the most appropriately in times of trial and temptation, I believe my heart is in the right place and my goal is always to respond like Jesus has taught us.  Good think our learning is a journey and takes time to figure all of this following Jesus stuff out.

The other thing I see here as I wrap this post up, is Jesus’ utter dependence on God.  As follower of Jesus we need to do the same, as Christian coaches we need to do the same.  We, like Jesus, must have total dependence on God!

“Mentoring Matters”

Yesterday, I finished reading “Mentoring Matters, What Every Mentor Needs to Know” by Tom Osborne.  I recommend this book to anyone who works with children and youth in any capacity.  As a father, mentor, pastor, and coach I found Osborne’s thoughts and reflections to be accurate and encouraging.

I would like to share a couple of longer sections from the book with you, while at the same time encouraging you to purchase the book.

Osborne’s final thought of the book:

“No country is more than one generation away from serious decline.  The best way to protect the nation is to ensure the nation’s young people are properly equipped to be responsible and productive citizens.  Mentoring serves as a powerful instrument to nurture young people so they can realize their full potential and contribute to the common good.  If we fail to invest time, love and guidance in our children we do so at our own peril.”

And from Coach Osborne’s summary at the end of chapter 7 on “Coaching and Mentoring:

“In summary, I observed a coach can have a very important role in mentoring his players.  Players are more impacted by a coach’s actions, how he deals with them, and how he lives his life, than by his words alone.  If a coach deals with players honestly and keeps promises, then he will be trusted.  If a coach is consistent in his treatment of players, win or lose, they will gain confidence in him.  If a coach is a good teacher, uses decent language and acts professionally they will gain respect for him.  If a coach teaches sound values, and promotes strong character they will appreciate his part in molding their value system, particularly as they move on in their lives.  If a coach looks at adversity as an opportunity to learn and to get better, rather than giving up or becoming negative, players will learn a very important life lesson in meeting the difficult challenges they will encounter later in life.  A coach who instills strong discipline and a powerful work ethic in his players will have taught them that good things don’t come easily, that achievement comes with a price.  And finally, by recognizing that the spiritual side of human nature, that which calls us to the best and highest within us, is important and needs to be nurtured just as much as physical and mental preparation, a coach can add a dimension of meaning and purpose which will last a lifetime.”