I love coaching the game of basketball. This was my first year as a head coach, and I was blessed to have the team I did. We had a great season and learned a ton of things together about playing, coaching, and living life. A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on how the game of basketball brings out so many life lessons that we have to learn. I would like to continue now by sharing some of these life-lessons I’ve personally learned through the game.
This past season I always told my players, “If you can’t do anything right in the game of basketball, you can always work hard and be coachable. Those two things will get you a long way.” I’d never heard that from anyone before, but it is honestly one of the most important truths I’ve learned over the years as both a player and captain. In Part One, I will expound on what hard work looks like and in few weeks, I‘ll talk about being coachable.
In order to be a successful in life you must work hard. This seems like a “no-duh” statement…Everyone knows they need to work hard and most people would say they do work hard. What we say though, doesn’t always line up with reality. Do we actually work hard? What does it mean to work hard? Well here are three ways you can evaluate yourself to see if you do and also put some handles on what it means to work hard.
Never Give Up
There were many difficult games and many hard practices that would have been easy to give up! I was assistant coaching one of the JV games, and they were down by at least 20 at the end of the third quarter (if not more). Ashamedly, I gave up on the game and went into the locker room to talk to my team. I came back out and with 1 minute left they were down by 3… They ended up hitting a buzzer beater 3 and losing the game by 1 point. I couldn’t believe it, but I was ashamed of myself for giving up hope, and I applaud those guys for never giving up.
Everyone says that they are a fighter and they never give up, but it’s more than just getting to the end. Do you fight the whole way through? Do you finish what you started? Do you do, what you say you’re going to do? I am as guilty as anyone on this one! I love the idea of new things and starting new things; but it gets tough towards the middle to stay focused, at the end to stay detailed, and when things look grim on top of that. As believers, we get caught in these traps all too often. We start a Bible study and don’t finish it. We recommit to church attendance and fall off the radar. We repent but fall right back into sin. We can never give up though… We aren’t ever going to be perfect but we must finish our race that God has set before us. We have the Holy Spirit of God that lives inside of us that we need to rely on when we begin to wane.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might
- Ephesians 6:10
You might think you are too exhausted to come to church on Sunday. You might think you are too broken to serve in an area you have committed to. You might feel inadequate to teach a class. If God has given you the responsibility, then He will also give you the strength through His Spirit so He can receive the glory. We just can’t ever give up!
Love the Grind
You have to learn to love the grind. Hard work is just that, HARD WORK. It’s not meant to be easy, or else everyone would do it! This is one lesson that I have found to be incredibly valuable, but still fall very short in! In high school, I hated putting in the extra time to go work out and shoot hoops. I loved playing, but I didn’t love the practices, the weight room, and giving up personal time to get better. It wasn’t until college that I really saw it different. I couldn’t figure out how good players got so good. Were they born that way? Were they just that talented? I kept wondering, so I finally asked them how much extra time they put in during the off season. All of them without exception spent countless hours in the gym. So I started to do the same and at first it was daunting, difficult, and I didn’t even really know what to do. I just started doing it, then I got better at it and soon I began to love it! To this day it is a joy for me to go lift some weights and do some drills. I love the grind!
As believers, we have to love the grind! We have to love getting up early to read our Bibles. We have to love fasting during our lunch break. We have to love leading our families in worship all week. We have to love serving in our church. There are lots of things God is calling us to do that are difficult and we have to learn to love them. Start by just doing them, then by get good at them, and then enjoy the reward of the hard labor! It’s biblical concept. Look at what Solomon says:
Here is what I have seen to be good: It is appropriate to eat, drink, and experience good in all the labor one does under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him, because that is his reward.
- Ecclesiastes 5:18
Give 100% in Everything
The key word here is everything. It is so easy to give something your all when you like it, when there is a big payout, or when people are watching. Everyone in basketball wants to work hard at 3 pointers and dribbling… because they like it and there is big payout. But often times when drills don’t include those elements players will take breaks. In the long run, however, it will hurt themselves and their team, because they aren’t getting better and they aren’t well rounded.
It is typically easy to work hard at all the stuff you like or that has big payout at work, church, and home.
Do you perform all of your work tasks to the best of your ability? Do you serve in areas you don’t like, but are needed? Do you do all the small things at home that need to be done (discipling your family, keeping up on your house, loving your spouse)? Everyone gives 100% at something, but not everyone gives 100% in everything. This is a true sign of hard work. Do you give 100% even in the things that you think don’t matter or you don’t like?
Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.
- Colossians 3:23
As believers we have something much bigger at stake than our current well-being– we have a reward much greater that is coming! Never forget that we work hard for His glory and not our own.