by Shannon Caughey
Coaches and athletes dream of experiencing that magical season of winning a state or national championship. If it happens, then the dream becomes doing it again. Or maybe the dream is to earn All-State or All-American or Coach of the Year honors. An even bigger dream could be to one day be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
As amazing as these dreams may be, are they significant enough to be the “big story” of our life? Think about it this way: if we accomplished these dreams, what lasting difference would it make for all the other important areas of life? Does achieving the highest of highs in sports enable us to build authentically loving relationships with our spouse or family or friends? Does it help us be a wise and godly parent? Does it leave a legacy that goes beyond sports? Does it impact what happens to us after our time on earth is done – or the eternities of those we influence?
There is nothing wrong with going after sports-focused dreams. The key, though, is to pursue these dreams within the context of the bigger story of life. What is this bigger story? We hear it in Jesus’ fifth “I am” statement in the book of John.
In John 11, Jesus’ good friend Lazarus gets sick and dies in the town of Bethany. Jesus is traveling far away when he gets word about Lazarus. By the time Jesus and his disciples arrive in Bethany, Lazarus has already been dead for four days. In their grief, Lazarus’ sisters say to Jesus that if only he had been there before Lazarus died, Jesus could have healed him. Their dream of experiencing many more years together as a family has been shattered.
Here is Jesus’ response (John 11:25-26): “25 Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.’” Jesus makes incredible claims with this “I am” statement! He is saying he is the source of life now and life for all eternity. He is proclaiming his power and authority over death. He is promising an amazing future for anyone who surrenders in faith to him.
Jesus is pointing to the bigger story: the story of life with him at the very center. When we live for Jesus, it transforms how we pursue our dreams or respond to difficult circumstances. It makes a difference in every area of daily life because we’re living for something bigger: the story he desires to write in and through us that reflects him. We’ll have a lasting impact on those around us because it will be for Christ. With Jesus is at the center of who we are, our present is filled with purpose and our future is secure.
As John 11 continues, we get a glimpse of this bigger story. Jesus goes to the cave that serves as Lazarus’ tomb, tells the people to roll aside the stone covering the entrance, prays to his Father, calls out to Lazarus – and Lazarus comes walking out! Jesus truly is “the resurrection and the life”! The promises he gives when we trust him and his bigger story are not merely pipe dreams. Jesus has the power and authority to deliver on these promises.
Coach, go after your sports-focused dreams – but do so while living for the bigger story that is centered on Jesus. Believe in Jesus, the Savior and Lord who is the resurrection and the life. Coach for him, live for him, and pursue what makes an impact for all eternity.
For reflection: Express to Jesus your confidence that he is the resurrection and the life. Ask him to help you coach and live for his bigger story.