On a Saturday night in 1995, I was cruising through a game on the mound. I had command. I was changing speeds. The other team was off balance. That was until I walked two batters and hit the next one with two outs in the 6th inning. For some reason, I began to stress and rush through my delivery. What started as a breeze quickly became a struggle.

Before I could cause more damage, from the dugout appeared my coach, Bill Miller. His slow walk to the mound did nothing to settle my nerves. Yet, what he said next was priceless. Knowing I was a believer in Jesus and knowing I would be in church the next morning, Coach Miller offered a classic line. “Burns, you don’t have to be in such a hurry out here. They won’t start church without you in the morning.”

I got the next guy out and cruised through the 7th for the victory.

Coach Miller and Proverbs 15:23 have something in common: “A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word” (NASB).

Wisdom dictates that coaches sometimes address things other than hitting and pitching mechanics. I laughed on the mound that night, knowing Coach Miller was right. I was in a hurry. He knew me. Was I scared of missing church the next morning? Not in that moment. But, he knew how to give me a timely word.

Coaches and Parents, do you know your players and children like that? Are you relying on the Lord for wisdom and are you speaking timely words? Or, are you simply focused on performance and skill? There is more to a player and a child than that.

Pray hard for wisdom and implement it when the Lord gives it.

Here’s a prayer to get you started:

Lord Jesus, when I address my players and children, make me wise. Give me apt answers and timely words that would please you and help others. Amen.