Self Sacrifice


Peter began to tell Him, “Look, we have left everything and followed You.” — Mark 10:28


When most sport seasons end, numbers get crunched. It’s easy for coaches to get caught up in the numbers game, especially as the media highlights our career wins, our titles, and our Coach of the Year awards. However, any true coach knows records are not the important thing; what matters is having the opportunity to work with athletes, to make a difference in their lives. Coaches, like players, make a lot of sacrifices to develop winning teams, but most will tell you those sacrifices and successes are for the athletes, for the joy of watching players mature and grow.

In the Christian life we make sacrifices as well. Instead of sitting in front of the television after a long day, we volunteer for church committees, sing in the choir, or work in the soup kitchen. What motivates us to participate in such acts of service? If it’s to keep track of our good deeds, then we’re more concerned with building a service record than with honoring Christ. In other words, our “sacrificial” serving isn’t really serving anyone but ourselves.

In his book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers asks, “Have you ever been driven to do something for God not because you felt that it was useful or your duty to do so, or that there was anything in it for you, but simply because you love Him?” As a Christian, I am called to serve Christ because I love Him, not because I need to earn His love. In fact, there is nothing I could do to earn His love; Christ has already done that on the cross!

I am not called to serve God for personal gain, because, like Peter, we have left everything to follow Jesus. For Christian coaches, genuine love for our athletes motivates a selfless commitment to them. Winning takes care of itself.


1. Am I more concerned about my player’s successes as individuals and athletes than I am about my own coaching accomplishments?
2. What motivates my “good deeds”?
3. What steps can I take to keep my motives on track as a coach and as a child of God?


Extra Reading: Acts 20:24; Galatians 2:19 –20; Philippians 3:7–11


Heavenly Father, please remind me that nothing compares to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen.

Bible Reference: 
Philippians 3