One of the greatest lessons a coach/dad can teach young players is humility. With any amount of success comes the tendency toward inward and outward pride. Many of us readily recall players who have risen to a level of proficiency, only to become a person who can’t stop talking about or focusing on himself. Not only does he believe what is said about him, but he starts to join the chorus of praise. This may or may not lead to his downfall (it doesn’t always), but for those who are followers of Jesus, there is a different standard.
Proverbs 27:2–“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”
This isn’t about denying reality, but being fully aware of it. This isn’t about false humility, but about biblical humility. Player, coach, you may be great at what you do, but the biblical standard is to simply acknowledge it, praise God for it, and keep working to please him with it. Clearly, there are earthly gifts and rewards attached to talent and proficiency, but these are neither to be sought exclusively nor talked about incessantly. Those who are great must recognize reality…yes, you have been gifted, but that is a gift from God and without him, you are nothing. Because you have been gifted by God, you recognize your utter dependence on him, even as you perform at a high level.
For the one who follows Jesus, there is no room for bragging, for exaggerating, or for portraying yourself (or allowing it to happen) as a living legend. If you are gifted, there is a far greater purpose for that than your own fame and fortune. God has something bigger in mind. So, let someone else praise you, but don’t get caught up in it. Instead, let yourself be consumed with pleasing God with your gifting and using it as a tool to advance his kingdom. Then, whether you receive praise or not, it will be said of you, “Well done, good and faithful servant” of the Lord.
Here’s a prayer:
Lord Jesus, there is only one worthy of praise, and he is not me. You, and you alone! Amen.