by Shannon Caughey
Are you a thermometer or a thermostat? In Habitudes, Dr. Tim Elmore observes that both a thermometer and a thermostat have something to do with the temperature. Elmore points out, however, that they are fundamentally different in this way: a thermostat sets the temperature, while a thermometer only reflects what the temperature already is. Elmore writes, “Most people are like thermometers. They tend to reflect the culture around them… Leaders, on the other hand, are people who decide to take life to the next level. They become thermostats… They influence, rather than merely get influenced by people.”
As a coach, are you a thermostat rather than merely being a thermometer? Are you truly influencing the culture of your program? This is exactly what Jesus calls you to do. In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus says to those who follow him, “14 You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
Think about what happens when you’re in a completely dark room and then a light is turned on. The light doesn’t go along with what the dark all around it is doing. The light stands out in contrast, changing the atmosphere of the room. The impact of light on darkness is undeniable.
In John 8:12, Jesus proclaims, “I am the light of the world.” When in Matt. 5:14 Jesus says to us as his followers , “You are the light of the world,” he is directing us to reflect him in our context. As we reflect Christ’s character, values, perspective, and priorities in how we speak and act, our “good deeds [will] shine out for all to see.” We’ll “set the temperature” in our context rather than merely going along with the character, values, perspective, and priorities of the world around us. We’ll influence the culture in ways that can bring praise to our heavenly Father.
It may feel like there’s a lot of darkness in the setting in which you coach. Rather than allowing that to intimidate you, embrace the opportunity Jesus is giving you to be a light that stands out in contrast. Jesus calls you to resist the temptation to merely blend in. Instead, you are to be like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. Jesus has placed you where you are because those within your sphere of influence need him, the Light of the World.
Coach, don’t underestimate the impact the Lord will have through you when you choose to be a thermostat rather than a thermometer. Determine to set the culture of your program according to the character, values, perspective, and priorities of Christ. As you reflect Jesus in how you go about every dimension of your coaching, your good deeds will shine out and bring praise to your heavenly Father.
For reflection: What are specific ways Jesus is directing you to reflect him in your coaching context? Ask the Lord to help you be a light for him day by day.