During my time off, I enjoy a variety of different hobbies. But, from an early age, one of my favorite activities to indulge in was the wonderful world of sports–that is, other people doing sports. Sure, I like to maintain an athletic lifestyle, but my stronger passion lies in the on-field and off-field escapades of the big-name professional athletes, especially those who play for the Green Bay packers. In a recent article I was reading, a local journalist was covering the story of Sam Shields who had, over the past few years, played well enough, and his team was finally awarding him with a new contract. For Shields, it meant big money, and big publicity.
More than a big paycheck:
I rolled my eyes back. “All’s well for him,” I thought. It seemed every week now I was hearing about the next big athlete with the next big paycheck.
But as I read further, the journalist went on to describe a deeper story that ran beneath the numbers–one about the dedication and commitment of this Shields’ coach, Joe Whitt Jr., who wanted nothing more than to help him succeed. It quickly became obvious that the relationship between the two men was a profound one, and the new contract meant more than the numbers on the paycheck. It meant that their hard work together had finally paid off.
The truth about coaching…
When asked about the Shields’ new contract, Whitt said,
“I couldn’t be happier for him. That new contract . . . that’s my job. My job is to get him paid.“
The journalist went on to describe the coach’s beaming eyes, which started to water, though in a gridiron fashion, he would not give way to tears.
I like to think that Whitt’s dedication to his disciple, his player, could serve as a model for coaches in all walks of life. It seems that good coaches help us get more out of ourselves that we would naturally think possible.
Discipleship is a long-term investment.
As the Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Accordingly, as this dedicated football coach helped shape a young man into a player for his team, so we can help form our disciples into dedicated workers for God’s kingdom.
Who knows, years down the road, we may see them prosper into one of the great disciples of the world, and we can stand there with beaming eyes, knowing that we helped them get there.
As Whitt would put it, let’s get them paid!
***What long term rewards have you received from coaching or being coached? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.***