Jonny was a rambunctious, high energy 5th grader on my 5th and 6th grade boys basketball team this past summer in Camden, NJ. It was a hot summer day, and I had considered practice to be mostly unsuccessful as I had broken up several fights and felt that not much had been accomplished. I finally conceded to allowing them to scrimmage for the rest of the practice. I began splitting up the teams, Tyric on team one, Jonny on team two. Immediately, Jonny reacted.
“Jonny,” I said, “I haven’t put anyone else on your team yet. You’re calling yourself butt!”
“Whatever,” Jonny responded, “You’re gonna give me a butt team anyways.”
For a moment, I was discouraged. No matter what I did, Jonny was not going to be content. He didn’t trust me as his coach to put him on a team that would grow him and support him. I really did want to do what was best for him, but he wasn’t even open to it.
I do this to God a lot. I think I know what is best for me, and I don’t allow Him to work and put people in my life that will grow and support me. I get angry or disappointed when things don’t go the way I want them to, and I don’t even give God a chance to be faithful. I try to pawn my poor results off on God, when the reality is that many times my poor results came from my unwillingness to allow my Coach to put other able people on my team.
Sometimes I forget that this Christian life is a team effort. What God has called me to do is so far beyond my own life (a vapor), and it is just a part of what He is doing globally, amongst Christians all over the world. Am I going to trust Him as my Coach to do what is best for His kingdom, not just for myself?
Right now, God has called me to full time ministry in Southeast Asia, but I need teammates! Bringing His good news is not an individual responsibility, rather it is something that I believe the Church is called to do as a community. As I continue this journey, would you consider how you can join? Many of you have already pledged your support, whether it be financially or in prayer, and I cannot tell you how encouraged and grateful I am.
By the end of the summer, Jonny had really come around. Our team had won the championship, and had learned a lot about the value of teammates and working together. Someone would make a comment to me, and Jonny would look at them and say with a giant smile on his face, “Coach Faith? Yeeeeah. That’s my coach!” Amidst my successes and failures as a coach, Jonny had grown to trust me. I hope and pray that I continue to grow in trusting my Coach, who NEVER fails.