By Shannon Caughey
During a recent FCA huddle with college athletes, one athlete said this: “Our coach is constantly reminding us not to get sidetracked by things we can’t control and instead to focus on what we can control: our attitude and our effort.” Wise advice. As a coach, you’ve likely said something similar to your athletes. Have you also considered how this same wise advice applies to coaching?
We’re doing a series of devotions on how to maximize your influence for what matters most. The Apostle Paul’s directives to Timothy, a guy he coached, in 2 Timothy 2:1-6 shows us God’s heart for this. Here’s the full passage:
1 Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. 2 You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. 3 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. 5And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. 6 And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.
We’ve previously seen that a central component to maximizing your influence is having a multiplication mindset (v. 2) – to live and coach for Jesus today in a way that he can use to impact generations to come. We’ve also seen that living out this multiplication mindset takes dedication (vv. 3-4) and discipline (v. 5). Paul points to one more needed quality in v. 6: diligence. Diligence is about focusing on these things you can control to maximize your influence for Christ: attitude and effort.
Paul highlights farmers as models of this quality of diligence. Farming is not a quick-and-easy job, and in the world’s eyes there’s certainly not much glamour in being a farmer. Farmers know that to be effective, it takes hard work. They also know that this hard work is carried out without most people realizing the intense effort farming requires. To have a chance to produce a crop, farmers must diligently do the significant work required – while also diligently maintaining an attitude that says, “I willingly embrace this work even while most people won’t recognize all I do.”
This same diligence is needed if you want to live and coach for Jesus in a way that he can use to impact generations to come. Effective coaching takes a lot of behind-the-scenes, hard work – especially when you’re committed to coaching with the values of Christ. Growing as a follower of Christ so that Jesus is experienced through you as you coach takes diligent, consistent effort. Building genuine, trusting relationships with your players takes making the effort to spend significant time with them. Creating practice plans that enable not only skill development but also character development takes hours of hard work. With all of this and more, your time and effort may not be recognized by anyone else.
But when you’re willing to live and coach for Christ with the attitude and effort that honors him, he will use your diligence to bear fruit. Jesus will work through you to multiply his transformational work in the lives of those in your sphere of influence. You may not be able to see it right away, but your impact for Christ can carry forward for generations to come. And then you’ll be able to enjoy the fruit of your labor for all eternity!
Coach, the Lord has given you significant influence in your context. Make the most of this incredible opportunity. Live and coach with a multiplying mindset, carrying out the mission of Jesus with dedication, discipline, and diligence. Maximize your influence for Christ!
For reflection: To maximize your influence for Christ, what are some specific ways you can practice diligence? Where are adjustments needed in your attitude or effort? Ask the Lord for his grace and power to enable you to be diligent in living and coaching for him.