Encouragement in Athletics
“So the sun stood still…and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day” which allowed Israel to defeat the Amorites (Joshua 10:13).
On Sundays, I often go to First Baptist of Indian Trail at 8am and Lee Park at 9:30…I do obey the speed limit, so let me worry about that. Michele will occasionally go with me to both churches, and if not, I’ll meet her at L.P. Today, I got up quietly as Michele was asleep, and I prepared quickly for church. Upon arriving at FBCIT, I noticed few cars thinking maybe they adjusted the service time as LP had done OR people were going to a later service. I walked in as the choir was doing dress rehearsal, looked at my iPhone for the first time and “yes, I did”.
I was an hour early. Even though knew the night before to turn my clock back…even though I knew it, I was still on the wrong time. If I had an “Amazon-Alexa” or “Google Assistant”, I may have asked the time. If Michele would have been awake, she would have kept me straight.
In the book of Joshua, the sun stopped for nearly a day. In that time, Israel won a battle. So, I’m sitting writing this as I sit in church…yes, I’m writing this at 7:30am (correct time now) as there’s about 30 more minutes before the service starts. I’m making the most of my time.
What will you do with your hour? Mark Schulz sang a song several years ago titled, “Time That’s Left”. The lyrics go like this…
What will do with the time that’s left?
Will you live it all with no regrets?
Will they say that you loved till your final breath?
What will you do with the time that’s left?
We don’t know how much time is left, however all of us were given an hour today…GIVEN an hour. Israel won a battle against a nation with about 10 more hours. You don’t have 10 hours but you’re not fighting a nation either. However, there may be a kind note of encouragement you need to send, a phone call you need to make, a prayer battle you need to spend time in…whatever it might be, what will you do with the hour?
A gentleman stopped by my seat about 7:45am and spoke with me. He and I prayed together a couple of years ago regarding his diagnosis of cancer. His cancer has returned. I asked if I could pray for him and we had a sweet time of prayer together as I encouraged him in the Lord. (Read Ps. 94:19…I shared this with him. If you want a scripture to memorize, you need this one!) He was grateful…it took 5 minutes. I still have more time left!!! So do you.
When I was a young boy, I remember this stray dog that showed up at our house. My grandmother, who lived with us, did not like the dog so I tried to make it leave by shooting it with a BB gun…it didn’t work. The dog stayed, we named him “Flip”, and he lived at our house for nearly 20 years. I taught Flip to shake, speak, sit and stay. He loved to eat, therefore taking a few treats and using those to help him learn, was fun and easy…except for the “stay” part. He didn’t do well in that skill.
An amazing revelation takes place in Joshua chapter 4. The historical account is one that motivates us to lead. Before crossing the Jordan River and entering the Promised Land of God, Joshua called individuals from the 12 tribes to gather a stone. These stones were to be placed on the other side of the Jordan river so when the children asked about the stones, adults would tell the generations that the stones were a reminder of the deliverance, as the Lord lead the people across the Jordan River.
According to this historical account in the Bible, the priest who carried the ark had to step into the water first. This act of faith would cause the waters to dam up on each side. And, just as it was in the days of Moses with the Red Sea, God would part the waters opening a new land to the Israelites.
Next, the 12 stone carriers walked ahead to place the stones on the other side. As the priest stood with the ark of the covenant in the middle of the Jordan, the people walked through. After the people cleared to the other side, the priests would follow (Joshua 4:8-18). The priests could not leave until the nation of Israel had cleared and Joshua had spoken to the people. The leaders had to stay.
- you catch what happened? The priests stayed in the middle of the Jordan while the people passed through! As the river raged, the leaders stayed! Where the danger was, the leaders stayed! Staying when the circumstances around seems threatening is what leaders do! Staying when nothing makes sense is often what the Lord requires of leaders. Staying can be your best move as you make a way for others to go in front of you.
May your courage be great as you proceed to lead in our athletic community!
Saturday afternoon as Cassidy helped Michele clean out her art studio…(this cleaning happens periodically as the room takes on a life of itself. Somehow it grows “stuff” …Anybody have a place in your house like that, or is my wife the only one? No need to respond. Us guys at least have a couple of drawers we get to cram things into.…back to the point) …I gave blood.
I entered the blood mobile, answered the numerous questions, had my finger pricked and was set up in a chair to start giving life. An elderly lady was prepping me while a couple of other ladies watched. (I observed that my “prepper” had sweaty, hot hands and a nervous demeanor. I was her first…. ever.) I casually asked her about her new role and why she went into the “blood draining business.” She reassured me I had good veins…I didn’t take the bait of distraction, therefore her newness and nervousness made me a bit queasy.
She “stuck” me…I was fine and thankful as the pole in my vein was set and I’d be finished in five minutes. I asked the lady, “Can I tell you something?” She said, “Yes.” I said, “Be confident.” She looked at me with tender eyes. I continued, “You’ve trained for this moment and if you bring your ‘A’ game demonstrating confidence, I would never have been nervous…just do it! The next person that comes along, be confident…just do it”. She smiled really big and gave me a warm, “Thank you, I needed to hear that today.”
- you have confidence sharing the Word of the Lord? Maybe our uneasiness is attributed to lack of knowledge, unconfessed sin, lack of practice…it could be a number of things. However, it’s important that we “do it.” Sharing for you may be easy in Sunday School, with your family, or online…that’s great! I challenge you to branch out. Talk with the stranger in the grocery store, the waiter at the restaurant,…someone you’re uncomfortable with regarding the gospel. Just “do it”…you’ll get better as long as you stay attached to the Vine of Christ.
Romans 10:14-But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?
Building Unity in the Kingdom!
Adam Grant is Wharton’s top-rated teacher for 5 consecutive years. Wharton University in Pennsylvania is the prestigious school of business for the Ivy League. In a “Ted-Talk” I recently listened to, Grant spoke about Givers and Takers in this world.
“Agreeable Givers” and “Disagreeable Givers” are both good…because they give…they sacrifice. Are you a giver?
“Agreeable Takers” and “Disagreeable Takers” talk behind your back and can bring harm the team. However, according to Grant, “Disagreeable Takers” need to be off your team immediately. Are you a taker?
I took a few notes to determine who you/we are:
- Givers approach most interactions by saying, ‘What can I do for you?’
- Givers are often sacrificing themselves thereby making their organizations better.
- Givers spend a lot of time helping the team yet suffer along the way.
- Givers are over-represented at the bottom and the top of every success metric.
- The best results belong to the Givers.
- Most people are right in the middle between Givers and Takers. We call them Matchers…they’re not typically leading anyone.
- Takers tend to rise quickly but also fall quickly. They fall at the hands of Matchers.
- The negative impact of a Taker on a team is double or triple of the positive impact of the Giver.
- Let one Taker on a team and the Giver will often stop helping.
- Success is more about contribution to the team
- The most meaningful way to succeed is to help other people succeed.
- I want to live in a world where Givers succeed.
Let’s develop unity on our teams by intentionally helping matchers and takers become givers. The results will be worth the effort.
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
Be a GIVER…in every aspect of life.
The first person to die on earth was Abel…the recording is in Genesis 4. But that’s not the last time we hear about him. In Hebrews 11, Abel is the lead-off hitter in the list of “Faith Warriors”. Hebrews 11:4 states, “…Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.”
Ken Harris’s faith still speaks and I take liberties to say there are 3 statements he would make. I believe everyone in athletics can learn from him.
- ARRIVE EARLY- Ken kept the score clock at Metrolina for nearly 10 years. In those 10 years, he only missed 2 games. If the game started at 4, which most did, Ken was seated with his green tea, a snack and a towel by 3:15…That’s right 45 minutes prior to the game, you’d see Ken. When he met me at my house to fish, he held me accountable as I knew he would be punctual and arrive early.
Arrive early- It shows a great respect for the person who’s expecting you.
Arrive early- It demonstrates a personal discipline to prepare.
Arrive early- It tells others, they’re important!
For those of us who know the Lord Jesus and know Ken…when we get to Heaven…He’s probably going to say one day…what took you so long to get here?
- COMMIT FULLY- Ken took personal ownership of the game clock. He ran the clock on Friday night football and every MS football game when he didn’t do Volleyball. In the spring season, he served as an assistant middle school baseball coach…he was truly a 3 sport athlete. He was to have a stint put in his carotid artery early this past spring, however Ken spoke to his cardiologist and asked if he could wait until spring break so he wouldn’t miss any baseball games.
Commit Fully- It makes the team stronger.
Commit Fully- It demonstrates sacrifice to others.
Commit Fully- It represents Christ as He committed ALL.
- THANK YOU JESUS, THANK YOU LORD- Every time Ken caught a fish, he treated it as though it was a gift. He would audibly say these words, “Thank you Jesus, Thank you Lord”, before dropping his catch back into the lake. Nearly every fishing trip we took, consisted of at least a 45 minute ride. Sometimes we talked, sometimes we just rode. There’s a lot to be said early when you’re getting to know each other…sometimes silence can be awkward. BUT then you develop that relationship where you don’t feel like you have to talk…however if you do, you know the other person’s listening. For that I am thankful.
THANK YOU JESUS, THANK YOU LORD- It displays a heart of gratitude to our God.
THANK YOU JESUS, THANK YOU LORD- It reminds us of where our gifts come from.
THANK YOU JESUS, THANK YOU LORD- Ken knows our Heavenly Father and we shall see Ken again.
As for me...I would tell Ken…you fought the good fight, you finished the race, you kept the faith…AND your faith still speaks.
One question for all of us to ponder…”What’s your faith saying?”