"I will never leave you or forsake you." — Hebrews 13:5b
I heard a story about a busy intern who worked in the emergency room. An elderly man came in one morning to have stitches removed. He was in a hurry to be treated so he wouldn’t be late for breakfast with his wife. The doctors could not attend to him for at least another hour, so the intern decided to take the stitches out herself. While they were talking, the elderly man explained that his wife suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and had not recognized him for the past five years. When asked why he still visited her every day, he replied, “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.”
This is the kind of love Christ has for us. It is a total, unconditional acceptance, regardless of our response to Him. Even when our athletes refuse to acknowledge the Christ that dwells within us, it is critical that we continue to love them. The unexpected love will have the greatest impact. Our athletes will eventually recognize that if we did not love them unconditionally, as Christ has loved us, then we would not take the time to invest in their personal and spiritual development. Without unconditional love, we would simply be going through the motions, never really planting seeds of faith that God can later nurture.
God always loves and commands us to do the same. Look at the number of ways love is portrayed in the Bible. As we begin a new coaching season, let’s open our hearts to the Creator of all things. Let’s make our goal to win not only on the court, field, course, pool, or track, but also within the hearts of each person who looks to us as leaders, especially our players and coaching staff.
1. How do you demonstrate love to your athletes?
2. How have you experienced unconditional love?
Extra Reading: 1 Samuel 20:9–23; Matthew 5:43–48; 1 Corinthians 13
Lord, on the crest of this new season when hope springs eternal, we are enthusiastic and excited. We ask for courage to overcome the negative attitudes of others. We ask for wisdom that we might be examples of holy living to those around us. We also ask for humility so that our lives would be transparent to each young person whom You have placed in our care. Amen.