The Real Teachers
My very first day of coaching high school girls’ tennis fell on a hot August afternoon. As our practice was about to end, the only thing left was the distance run. I had my stopwatch ready to call out the time of each player as she finished. I knew this was going to be tough that first day; nobody was in great shape at the end of the summer after too many afternoons spent lying on the couch in air-conditioning.
After our fastest runner crossed the finish line, she immediately turned around to see how far back the other players were and saw one young player far behind everyone else. Without hesitating she sprinted back to that last runner and began to run alongside her for the last leg. Our fastest runner did not want anyone to have to finish last or alone.
I was amazed. I remembered my own days playing high school basketball. If I finished my laps first, I certainly wasn’t thinking about anyone else. Instead, I went to find a nice cool spot on the gym floor to plop down and rest. But on this first day of coaching high school tennis, I suddenly realized I was actually going to be learning a lot more than I’d be teaching.
Through that young player, God taught me a lesson about kindness and sensitivity I’ve never forgotten. I thought I was going to be the one doing the teaching, but just as Jesus Christ amazed the local leaders with His deeds and words, God used the unexpected to change me in a way I could never have imagined. He still does.
1. What lessons have you learned from your players?
2. How has God used the unexpected to teach you something that He wanted you to learn?
3. Would others view you as having compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, of being as Christlike as the young player who came alongside the last runner?
Extra Reading: Proverbs 20:11; Ephesians 4:31–32; 1 John 3:8–20
Thank You, almighty God, for coming to Earth in the Person of Jesus to “run” beside me in some amazing ways! Amen.