Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thickening the air I'm breathing.

"Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end- it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay." -Habakkuk 2: 2-3

I took a coaching education course a few weeks ago. During one of the lectures, the question was posed, "Why do you coach?" People gave various answers: love of the game, competition, to be a positive influence, to coach their children, to pass on their knowledge and talents, etc.

In one of his books, John Piper writes, "Not to aim to show God is not to love, because God is what we need most deeply. And to have all else without Him is to perish in the end. If you don't point people to god for ever-lasting joy, you don't love. You waste your life."

So, I'm sitting in this room of 40+ coaches hearing them shout out their reasons for coaching. In the back of my mind the only thing I can think of is that: I coach in order to share the gospel of Jesus. Of course, I didn't say this out loud. Most of them would have thought I was out of my mind, and some may have even told me that it's illegal (well, I've already been told both of these responses). I coach because I love the game. I coach because I love people. I coach because I have been given the passion and the gift of being able to play soccer. But, as Piper says, without sharing the gospel through all of this I am withholding the One true life-giving Love. It's actually extremely selfish not to share the gospel because it is the one thing that everyone is searching for, whether they admit it or not.

In the verse that I shared at the beginning, God is talking about a VISION. I think God gives each of His children a vision. I don't mean the kind of vision that you necessarily see played out in front of you like a movie (although, maybe!). I mean a vision of what it means for you, personally and corporately, to bring His Kingdom to earth. We are channels of His grace that he doesn't need, but chooses to use anyway. He has given each of us different and specific talents and passions to be used for His glory. The verse also mentions that the vision may be "slow." It might not always be clear to us but He says that He will show us and that it "will not lie." This vision is something that will come slowly and maybe only in little glimpses at a time...and it will be revealed to us through His Truth (the Bible) as we read and seek to know Him more.

I have been shown a glimpse of a vision. This vision is to use coaching and the silly game of soccer to love people and to tell them the Gospel that has absolutely transformed, remodeled, and rebuilt my life. I want to be a positive influence for the kids that I coach and to the coaches I coach with and against. But that's not enough. Piper goes onto say, "[God] has woven you into the fabric of other's lives so that you will tell them the Gospel. Without this, all our adorning behavior may lack the one thing that could make it life-giving." We want to be better soccer players, and to compete, and to win, and to have fun...but what we NEED is Jesus.

My life should reflect the gospel. People should see "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22) in the way that I live and coach, but without me telling them why I live the way I do and why I coach the way I coach, I am literally wasting the passion, the talents, and the life that God has given me.

I mess this vision up a lot and still don't know entirely how to "live out" this vision, but I'm learning more everyday. I'm trying to live the Truth I've been given. This is not about me and I'm trusting that this vision will "hasten to the end"and overflow from the way I live and coach to the glory of God...the only thing that matters.

Coaching to share the Gospel. How ridiculous and beautiful at the same time.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." - Romans 1:16