“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock.”Matthew 7:24

As the timeout broke, the objective was clear to everyone on the team: possess the ball until the game ends. I relayed the same message to my players three times over as the huddle broke: “Be sure the game ends with the ball in your stick.”

We are up one, with under a minute remaining and no timeouts left. Coming out of the timeout we gave the ball to someone whom we believed was our most reliable player, then after waiting until the referee was about to blow the whistle to restart the play, one last time I yelled,” HEY!” The nervous 4th grader stared back at me, as I reminded him one more time, “we do not need a goal!” He nodded his head and reassured me that he knew exactly what the game plan was.

You probably know how this will end.

Play restarts, and just as we scripted it, all six offensive players ran exactly where we asked them to go. In my mind I thought, “We got this one!” and began to reflect on what a great timeout I had called, and and take a moment to commend myself for my great coaching.

Then out of nowhere, our most reliable player saw something he believed was better than what we had discussed, or had agreed was our plan. He threw what he thought was a great pass to a wide-open teammate. Even though I had warned him of this, he decided to take matters back into his own hands, throwing an incredible pass to a wide-open teammate just as an opposing player intercepted the pass, ran the length of the field and tied the game. We went on to lose the next faceoff and the game.

I know this player felt horrible and prayed that our defense would hold up, but it had been his actions and his decisions that had put our team in this position. As we walked off the field in defeat, my hope was that everyone had learned a lesson that day, one that we would not have to repeat.

The word AND is very important. As crowds followed Jesus and hung off every word he spoke, he often delivered a clear message.

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock.” – Matthew 7:24

I have read or listened through the entire Bible numerous times. The biggest mistakes I have made throughout my life were not the result of not knowing what to do, or what Jesus’ guidance would be in a situation, but instead they were made during times when I became distracted by my selfishness and my desires for opportunities that have been inferior to God’s best for me. My hope is that I can learn from my mistakes, and continue to put His words into action.

As a coach, I would probably not give the ball to that player the next time we find ourselves in a similar game situation, but God never gives up on us, and his unconditional love will always provide numerous second chances.

Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.

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