By Scott Ashton
“Absolute futility,” says the Teacher. “Absolute futility. Everything is futile.” — Ecclesiastes 1:2
These words from the book of Ecclesiastes ran through my mind during my senior year in high school. We had just won the state championship the year before, but it seemed nearly everyone had already forgotten. The things of the world failed to satisfy my cravings for what was truly real, lasting, and meaningful in life. I was invited to an FCA Huddle meeting where Coach Patterson, one of the school’s football coaches, was scheduled to speak. At a time when I refused the wise counsel of most adults, the idea of hearing a coach’s speech attracted me. The advice of a coach has tremendous influence and power because most athletes are conditioned at a young age to listen to and respect their coach.
Coach P. could have been a million other places that night—with his family, watching film, or resting at home. However, he came instead to the FCA meeting. He explained how we too could have purpose and meaning in our lives by accepting Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for our sins and dedicating our lives to Him. I gave my life to Christ that night, and I have not been the same since. Eleven years later I serve on staff full-time with FCA, simply because one man made a conscious decision to use his influence as a coach for Christ.
Coach P. was a great guy, but like every human being, he wasn’t perfect. I am sure he struggled in his walk with Christ. Sometimes we allow our failures to prevent us from making an impact for Christ. We forget God’s grace. I am eternally grateful that Coach P. made himself available for the sake of my salvation.
2. As a coach, am I conscious of my influence after a tough loss, or after losing my temper in the heat of a game?
Extra Reading: Isaiah 40:28–29; Matthew 16:24–26; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Ephesians 5:8–10
Father, forgive my sins. Forgive me also for allowing sin to interfere with my ability to reach others for You. Help me to rest in Your grace. Holy Spirit, guide me in using my influence for Your glory. Amen.