Let me begin this blog by saying I’m a musician, not an athlete; so my view of sports is from the sideline as an encourager. But that doesn’t prevent me from having an opinion on the matter and being that what I’m writing about isn’t really about sports at all, I do consider myself somewhat of an authority. Little league sports is a season of beginnings for both the little ones playing and their parents. It’s a whole new set of emotions for parents who are almost for certain their little Johnny or Jenny have the potential to be a national star. And that’s as it should be. Parents should instill in their children at the earliest of possible ages that they can do or be anything they want… provided God approves. That’s the part most parents skip. And mainly because many little league activities are held on Wednesday evenings and now Sunday’s when kids should be in church, but that’s another blog.
If Jesus were a little league Coach, this is how I believe He’d go about it. The same manner for which He built the church.
He knew the game
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
Jesus was every bit God and every bit man. He experienced and faced temptation the same way we do and yet He overcame sin, so we are without excuse. If Jesus hadn’t experienced that for Himself we’d been given the opportunity to say, “But Lord, You don’t understand.” But He does. And for certain a Coach, even of little league, should have at some point experienced the game.
He knew He was dealing with Amateurs
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
They weren’t preachers, they were fishermen, and Christ used that same analogy to convince them that they could play ball… or win souls as the case may be.
The one thing that most children love to do is play ball. Of any kind! And they’re pretty sure they’re the best at it, until somebody tells them they’re not. Now before any die hard athletes go on a rampage here, I understand the concept of winning and losing. You have to have both, not everyone can win every time. But winning and losing was not supposed to be the precept of little league ball. It was to train children to play.
Now let’s put that in a church perspective. I was blessed to begin my Christian walk in a church of really messed up people, (you know… sinners) with a leader who believed that we could be trained to be leaders. We weren’t expected to be perfect, but we were expected to try. When we broke the rules, we weren’t taken out of the game… we were brought to the sideline, instructed of righteousness and told to try again. That’s good teaching.
He knew they needed time
Most little league players don’t come out of the womb with a team jersey. There are the gifted, but most are just average kids, just like the church. A very small percentage of the church become paid servants, most of us are just average joes, or jills as the case may be; but you better believe there wouldn’t be a game if we didn’t show up.
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Jesus taught not only the disciples but the multitude as well. Little league sports is a community event. It should be a time of learning and fun for everyone. It’s not the making of professionals, it’s the teaching of a team. Jesus wanted the disciples to understand that the game wasn’t about them, it was about those they served. And teaching kids to have a team spirit is the most valuable lesson you could teach as a coach. Because they’ll always be winners if they learn to treat one another with respect.
Teaching church members that lesson goes a long way too! The team’s attitude is usually a direct reflection of the coach. Bad or good the team is usually a mirror image. Jesus’ first lesson was an attitude check.
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
He knew sometimes they’d lose
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Jesus understood and taught how to take a loss. No matter what… treat people right.