by Shannon Caughey
I regularly encounter coaches who sell short their potential impact for Jesus Christ. They want to be a channel through which Jesus carries out his good work in the lives of their athletes and fellow coaches. But they feel like they’re not doing enough. Or they doubt that their efforts are making any real difference.
Maybe you can identify with this struggle. You want to be a Kingdom coach – someone who lives and coaches for the Lord as your King. But what’s needed to actually make an impact for Christ?
In this series of devotions, we’re considering how to be a Kingdom coach by looking at several parables Jesus shares. These are parables in which Jesus says, “The Kingdom of Heaven/God is like…” When Jesus refers to the Kingdom of Heaven or God, he’s talking about the reign of God as King. Jesus’ Kingdom parables give us insight regarding how God’s reign is brought to bear on our life and on our world.
In the last devotion, we saw in Matthew 13:31-32 that God’s Kingdom work is often like a mustard seed: while it seems small and insignificant at first, it eventually brings about disproportionately significant results. Jesus adds to this in Matthew 13:33 – “Jesus also used this illustration: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.’”
Similar to the diminutive size of the mustard seed, yeast is only a small part of the dough. Yet the presence of yeast, seemingly insignificant at first, soon permeates every part of the dough, playing a crucial role in the making of bread. The influence of yeast on the surrounding dough is far more significant that what might be expected when the woman “put only a little yeast in three measures of flour.” Yeast makes a big difference – just by its presence in the dough.
Jesus’ point: when we live for him as our King, we can be a Kingdom influencer in our setting. Doing more or bigger ministry activities can be good, but that’s not the key variable in making an impact for Christ. When we make it a priority just to be present with others, this creates opportunities for Jesus to work through us. As we faithfully trust and follow Jesus, our presence becomes a channel through which the Lord brings his good and loving reign to bear on those around us.
I’ve heard many stories of the impact of a Christ-following coach merely because he or she was willing to be present. Sometimes it was because the coach came to activities his or her athletes were involved in that were completely unrelated to their sport. The coach was present to support these athletes. Sometimes it was because the coach made the effort to engage in conversations with his or her athletes or fellow coaches about their lives outside of their sport. The coach was present to take a personal interest in them. Sometimes it was because an athlete or fellow coach observed their coach’s consistent Christ-like character in a variety of situations over many years. It wasn’t any specific ministry activity the coach did – just how they modeled what Jesus is like through their presence.
Kingdom coaches recognize the opportunity to influence others for Christ simply through their presence. As you seek to trust and live for him day by day and moment by moment, Jesus works through you. His reign infiltrates your setting and impacts those around you. Never sell short your potential impact for Jesus merely through being present with others.
For reflection: What new or additional steps can you take to be present with others as a Kingdom coach? Trust Christ’s work through you as you daily live for him in the sphere of influence he’s given you.