This past Monday night, five-time national championship coach Nick Saban led Alabama into the NCAA Division 1 Championship Game in Atlanta. He made an incredibly gutsy call, benching his starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts, and counting on a true freshman backup quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, to lead them to victory … and they won!
Former UCLA Coach Jim Mora gives some insight into why Alabama is consistently at the top of college football.
“If you go to Alabama and you walk into the equipment room and the assistant equipment manager is folding a towel and you ask him what he’s doing, he’ll say, ‘I’m preparing to win a national championship.’ He’s not saying, ‘I’m folding this towel.’ He’s saying, 'I’m folding this towel the best a towel’s ever been folded because I’m preparing to win a national championship.’ That attitude permeates the entire organization.”
In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul said, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
You want my take on that? I think Paul was saying, “I play to win … in everything I do.” So should we. Especially those of us who call ourselves Christians. We’re living in a culture enamored with participation trophies, rewarding people for doing nothing more than just showing up. It has produced a generation of lazy, lethargic losers who feel entitled to everything even though they’ve done nothing. (Hopefully that’s your friend and not you.)
Vince Lombardi said, “Football is a great deal like life in that it teaches that work, sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness and respect for authority is the price that each and every one of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” He’s right and the application to those of us in the church should be obvious.
A few days ago, there was an article in USA TODAY (January 4, 2018) about Bill Belichick. The headline was: Bill Belichick to Patriots players: Snow is no excuse for being late. The article went on to say:
“With something called a ‘bomb cyclone’ set to strike the Northeast, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick reminded players Wednesday that a little snow is no excuse for tardiness.
Veteran players told reporters that Belichick, a stickler for routine and ‘process,’ reiterated to them the importance of being on time for practice Thursday morning, regardless of weather.
‘He’s mentioned that he doesn’t care,’ Patriots safety Devin McCourty told reporters. ‘Don’t call and say your car got stuck. I think everyone knows there are two hotels up here at Patriot Place, so stay there for the night. Find a way.’
Belichick has historically had little patience for tardiness, no matter what the cause. In 2009, for example, linebacker Adagios Thomas told ESPN he showed up nine minutes late for a team meeting after snowfall nearly caused him to get into an accident on the way to the facility. Belichick sent him home.”
Maybe that’s why, in 17 seasons they’ve won 5 Super Bowl Championships, 7 Conference Titles, 14 Division Crowns and have 25 playoff victories.
I got to wondering, if a football coach can demand that kind of response for a game, when no one’s eternity hangs in the balance, how much more should we expect from those whose job does have something to do with people’s eternity? It’s not a game … eternity is on the line.
If a football coach can demand that kind of response for a game, when no one’s eternity hangs in the balance, how much more should we expect from those whose job does have something to do with people’s eternity? It’s not a game … eternity is on the line.
Coach Lou Holtz said, “I’m not a great motivator. I just get rid of guys who can’t motivate themselves.” He also said, “You can tell the average players from the great players when you demand excellence from them. The average players hate it - the great players love it!”
The goal of every Christian and every church should be to win more people to Christ and win at everything we do. Every ministry, every activity, every program, every staff member, every leader at every level, every thing we do! We need to live, love and lead like WINNERS and not be satisfied with anything less than the best.
Vince Lombardi said, “I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour – his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear – is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”
I’m hoping you’ll read this article and say, “Coach, I’m in! Let’s win!"
© 2018. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.