8.9.17 ~ Matthew 4:12-17

Matthew 4:12-17

12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
    the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
    Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people living in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned.”


17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

For the sake of this blog all of my posts will relate to coaching sports teams, even though this passage of Scripture (and all Scripture)  is useful in all areas of life. Just because I write with a certain audience in mind, doesn’t mean you can’t take this Scripture and let the Holy Spirit transform another area of you or your life.

I think the Holy Spirit is a good member of the Trinity to remember when we read and study Scripture.  I’m going to share my opinion and thoughts, but ultimately the Holy Spirit is our guide and our Present Teacher.  When we study Scripture let’s make sure we pray and ask the Holy Spirit to come and teach us and help us to relate what we read to our lives.

There are two things from today’s passage that I want to mention.

As someone who needs his quiet and space, I appreciate that Jesus needed his space as well.  In verse 12 we read that when Jesus heard about John he withdrew.  Elsewhere in Scripture we see Jesus either withdrawing, or going off by himself (or with his disciples) to pray and spend time with God.  In today’s Scripture we see that Jesus withdrew to Galilee.

We aren’t told what Jesus did there, but we do know of the different places he lived and visited.  Part of the reason for his withdrawing was to fulfill a prophecy, and I have to believe that another reason was to just get away and rest.  As coaches I think modeling rest to our athletes is a good idea.  Of course you have to be under the belief and understanding that athletes, no matter their age, can’t train year round without taking breaks.  As coaches we can model rest in our own lives by how we scheduled periods of rest into a balanced routine, and we can also schedule rest for our athletes during and out of the season.  If we don’t our bodies and their bodies will break down and we won’t be able to “perform” at a high level.

I think that Jesus’ withdrawing also shows that He knew Himself well enough to know what He needed to do to recharge.  I know in my life there needs to be a good balance of activity and rest.  Even in busy seasons of life this is possible, and we constantly need to be reminded that it is okay to take care of ourselves and slow down every once and awhile.  Or slowing down might just be for a moment, but sometimes a moment is all we need.

In verse 17 we read that Jesus began to preach “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Another thing I like about Jesus is that His message never changed, from the beginning to the end of His earthly ministry.  Jesus knew His mission, He knew what the task at hand was, and He set out to do it.  I can appreciate Jesus’ unwavering pursuit of His mission, as He desired to reach people with the grace, hope, and love that we experience through our salvation  in Him.

A couple of things here. 1) As Christian coaches we have the same message to share as we point the people in our spheres of influence to the hope and truth of Jesus Christ.  This is pretty simple and everything in our life, including our words and actions, can point others to Jesus. 2) Jesus never wavered in his message.  I wonder how this relates to us as coaches?  I think this might mean that when we have a philosophy that we believe in, stick to it. I also think this means we are consistent in what we teach, how we discipline, how we encourage, how we interact with players, how we treat the officials, and more.  Consistency is important as we work with and seek to have a positive influence on the lives of young people.

I know here in Idaho that fall sports seasons are getting started in our public and private schools around the state.  My prayer is for there to be opportunity for young people to experience the greatness of sport and sportsmanship, while learning and having fun, building relationships with their teammates, and learning about Jesus or growing in their commitment and relationship with Him.  My prayer is similar for coaches.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great day.


“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.”