Soccer

 I do it all for the sake of the gospel… ESV 1 Corinthians 9:23

If you know me, you know sports is really not my thing. However, about 7 years ago my boys took up soccer, and I decided to learn to coach. The first year was painful. Brutally painful. I think we lost every game. I stunk as a coach. I knew nothing about the game, so I just yelled encouraging things to the players. At times I wondered why I was coaching. However, over the years, things have changed to the point that other than having my Saturdays dominated by games, I absolutely love coaching. What happened, and how has my spiritual formation impacted my soccer coaching?

First, as followers of Christ, the gospel impacts everything. With soccer, the gospel impacts me in two ways. First, coaching opens doors to share the gospel, so that reason alone compelled me to coach (especially when times were bad). Granted, the first few years I was so consumed with coaching I wasn’t able to build relationships with the parents, but just last night, I was able to plant the first seeds of the gospel with one dad, and then realize two other parents on my team have been to our church at various outreach events. Coaching is opening doors to share the gospel. Secondly, and just as important, the gospel compels me to try new things. Generally, I only do things I excel at (horrible, I know). Sports is not my thing, but because Christ has died for me, I’m a new man in Him. My identity is in Christ, not my coaching ability. His Holy Spirit works through me. If He calls me to coach to share the gospel, He will enable me to grow in my skills as a coach. I’m not the best coach, but I have learned a thing or two, and I fully credit the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.

How about you? What new things is God calling you to? What are you scared of? How can the death and resurrection of Christ, and the knowledge that the Spirit of God indwells you encourage and enable you to tackle these new challenges? What doors to share the gospel might these new opportunities afford? Remember, faithful is He who calls you who also will bring it to pass. Go for it!

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