I’m trying to join a Peewee Baseball team. I’m still not sure if they will count my age against me, but to my defense, my speed and skill level has pretty much degenerated to the level of an 8 year old. A slow 8 year old. Like I was in the day. So, you ask, why in the heck do I want to talk about boys’ baseball? Simple. I need what the Coach has.
I enjoy watching the Coach more than I do those little “grasshoppers” on the team, even though their innocent jumping around, tripping and fumbling can be quite amusing. But the Coach, he has something special. I have no idea at this writing whether he is a Believer or not, but he expresses the love, grace and motivation of God better than many Christians I know. Better than me. That’s why I study him.
For the most part, Coach has a tribe of raucous, high octane, uninformed (and uniformed), unskilled little boy “pups” out there. Much of the play (individual performance) is raw and inexperienced and that’s hard to ignore. But for me, the BIG show is the Coach’s performance. You would think he’s coaching a farm team for the “Bigs,” the finest young athletes ever assembled. While I know on the inside Coach is aware of the level of talent he is grooming, each individual boy believes he has the stuff of champions. Next season’s Wheaties box cover.
When a child makes a good play, not necessarily a spectacular one, he is showered with affirmation and praise. If he executes poorly at bat or in the field, he still receives a massive “fist bump” and a compliment on whatever slightest action resembled a ballplayer. There is no time and really no reason to sulk due to less than sterling performance. Coach is there with encouragement and constant instruction, reminding each boy time and time again about the correct fundamentals and that he knows he’ll see it executed to perfection at the next opportunity. This man is patient.
If these kids had their attention fixed upon their own skill level and performance, some would pack up their little gloves and bats and leave the field. This Coach makes that an impossible notion. Hey, these kids may “like” the game of baseball but they love Coach. He lavishes praise and affirmation on the boys because they want to do as he directs, not because they accomplish that. Some get better at their skills, but that is not the strict measure of the Coach’s regard for each child. He loves them. He wants them to have a positive appraisal of themselves. He reinforces their accomplishments and accepts their shortcomings as “process.”
Don’t these attributes remind you of our God and how He sees you and me? Like the Coach, He wants us to see ourselves in the same light as He sees us. Having the luxury of seeing ourselves as God lovingly and patiently sees us, we do not have to be overwhelmed or burdened by our level of “performance” as God grooms us in His image. And we should be that way towards each other, especially as we place ourselves in the role of disciple-makers. Take a lesson from Coach. Whether he knows it or not, the image of God is present in him. Think About It.