by Shannon Caughey
As a coach, you regularly face decisions about how to best invest the resources you have. How do you invest the time allotted for each practice to maximize the progress desired? What’s the most productive way to invest the financial resources budgeted for your team: new equipment? new uniforms? something else? How do you invest your energy day by day so that you can accomplish all that needs to be done?
To be a Kingdom coach involves a more all-encompassing investment decision. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus directs us to “seek the Kingdom of God above all else.” To follow Christ is to give our full allegiance to God as our King and to desire that his reign will increasingly transform the world around us. In this series of devotions, we’re considering what this looks like – including as we coach – through reflecting on several Kingdom parables Jesus shares.
In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus challenges us to make the best investment decision: “44 The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. 45 Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. 46 When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!”
Through these parables, Jesus is not suggesting that we can somehow buy our way into God’s kingdom. The Bible is repeatedly clear that the Lord rescues us from what we deserve for our sin and brings us into his kingdom through his grace, not because of anything we’ve done or could do. Our role is to be respond to Christ’s loving work with dependent faith. The point Jesus makes with these particular parables is this: investing all we have in living for the Lord and seeking the spread of his kingdom is worth it.
How does this happen? First, recognize the unsurpassed value of God’s kingdom. The man who finds the treasure and the merchant who discovered the pearl have the same response. They realize that this isn’t just one treasure or one pearl among many of equal value. This is an unparalleled opportunity and therefore changes everything. When we understand that nothing is greater than knowing Jesus as our King and giving ourselves to seeing his reign increasingly transform the people and the world around us, we no longer settle for living and coaching for lesser things. The unsurpassed value of God’s kingdom changes everything for us.
This leads us to gladly sacrifice whatever is needed to live and coach for God’s kingdom. In the parables, both the man and the merchant sold everything and invested all they had in the treasure they discovered. There was no question it was worth it! The Lord gives us the priceless opportunity to be part of advancing his kingdom in our sphere of influence. Are we willing to gladly sacrifice whatever is needed to make the most of this opportunity? Maybe that means sacrificing some practice time to give your athletes a chance to participate in a team chapel. Or maybe that means passing on a potential promotion at work so that you continue to have the flexibility in your schedule to coach because you want to be a light for Christ to your athletes.
Any sacrifice Jesus leads you to make is an investment in what is of unsurpassed value. “Seeking the Kingdom of God above all else” – gladly giving your time and energy to live and coach for the Lord and for the spread of his loving reign as King – is the best investment decision you’ll ever make. It’s the type of investment that Jesus uses to bring about eternal returns. Live and coach for the matchless treasure of the kingdom.
For reflection: Are you living and coaching for the kingdom above all else? What sacrifices might the Lord be leading you to make in order to be part of spreading his kingdom? Take a few minutes to talk with God about these things.