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Categorized | From the Pulpit

Where’s the coach?

Pastor Lee Zabrocki 

Resurrection Lutheran Church

Sand Lake, MI 49343

I was reminiscing about my son, when he was four and learning to play baseball. He was standing there in his little shorts, and he had his wiffle bat and his wiffle ball.  I stood just a few feet away from him and I gently threw the ball underhanded. He would sort of chop at it like an ax, and I didn’t know if he’d ever learn to play. Well, of course, I gave him the Dad’s typical, gentle coaching and said, “Now, don’t chop at it. Swing evenly. Here’s how to follow through. Here’s how to plant your feet.”

Then times changed over the next few years. It got to where I couldn’t pitch it fast enough, and he was hitting it all over the place.  I enjoyed coaching. I hope I’m one of the reasons, at least, that he learned to do it right in the early stages. 

Actually, coaching comes almost naturally to Dads; they’re pretty good coaches.  I want to be sure today, Dad, that you’ve got your Head Coach hat on, and that you’re making the difference.

Coaches, pay attention! Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children. Instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”  Let me summarize.  It says two things to Dads.   With your children: 

Don’t put them down

and

Do bring them up.

Let’s take the first part. There’s the negative, and it’s addressed particularly to fathers. And I thought, now, why is it said to fathers “do not exasperate your children”?  Of course, mothers shouldn’t do that either, but it’s stated to fathers. 

I think sometimes dads have awfully high expectations of kids. We just tend to exasperate our children, through setting the bar so high, and then they have to clear it higher, and they’ve got to go higher all the time.  Sometimes dads are so hard to please.

Occasionally, our cutting remarks only notice what needs improving, and we don’t tell them what they’ve done right. I know kids who have literally been defeated, and decided not to even try anymore, because they just couldn’t please Dad.

God says in this Call to Coaching, the first thing you do is to make sure that your child is never put down by you. There’s nothing so cutting, so destroying to a self-image, and even your hope for your own achievement than Dad’s perceived rejection. 

But this is a call to spiritual coaching. It doesn’t just say don’t put them down, it says, “Do bring them up.” 

Are you leading spiritually in your family?  Are you the one who gets everybody together to pray, Dad?  Are you the one who gets the sharing time going around the dinner table?  Are you the one who teaches the Bible stories and applies them to everyday life; makes sure everybody gets to church, and who models Christian conduct?  You say, “Well, I’m not real good at that.” 

You know, men tend to avoid what they’re not good at. If we’re not good at a sport, we usually don’t show up for that sport. 

I was good at football and I wasn’t good at baseball. I would play football. I wouldn’t play baseball. 

Listen dads, don’t wait until you’re good at it or you’ll never start. Start spending some time getting your family together spiritually and getting with the Lord together. 

Remember, God has assigned you, as the man of the house, the head coaching job in your family.  Know God will help you!

Do you know what that means?  Yeah, don’t ever put them down, and always bring them up—in a positive relationship with Jesus!

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union

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