05 October 2010

Love God. Love People

I coached basketball for 12 years on the High School level.  As with any coach, you have certain philosophies that you carry on year after year, regardless if the kids in the uniforms change.  Some coaches like to  "run-and-gun".  Others are the slow it down, play tough defense type.  Some allow their players freedom to create, while another coach wants to be in control and have a disciplined attack.

Also, you have certain plays and tendencies you tend to duplicate.  A base offense or defense around which everything else is built.


My base offense was called simply "Motion."  Many coaches have a play called motion, but they can all mean quite different things.

When did I start teaching this?  Day One.  The first day of practice before final cuts had even been made.

How often did we practice it?  EVERY SINGLE DAY!  Even on defensive days, at some point there would be a session on Motion, either tweaking it, adding new wrinkles, or correcting some way we weren't doing it properly.

My goal was for the kids I coached to be able to run this in their sleep.  To be able to take out a sheet of paper and diagram it for someone.  To be able to coach others to run this offense. 

It was the basis around which everything else was built.

I cannot tell you how many times I had to call timeout in a game to call my team over because we weren't executing this play correctly.  Hours of post-game and halftime talks were spent critiquing MOTION. 

I would get so frustrated that my kids couldn't do what I considered to be the basic thing I asked of them.

"We've gone over this a thousand times, and we STILL can't run it right???  We have seen from past games that if we do it right, IT ALWAYS WORKS!!"

On my cubicle wall is a sheet of paper with the words "I AM THIRD" in bold print, followed by these verses from Mark 12. 

How many times have I heard these verses?  Hundreds?  Easily hundreds.

GOD knows we are flawed, imperfect creatures who rely on HIM for everything...he asks two simple things from us...the basic play, if you will, of the Christian playbook. 


And I wonder how often he is frustrated with me:

"I've shown you so many times, and you STILL can't do it???  You have seen from the past that when you LOVE ME and LOVE OTHERS, good things...GREAT THINGS HAPPEN!  IT ALWAYS WORKS!!"

It is easy for someone with my personality to say "I do love GOD, and I do love others...I mean, I am a nice guy.  I make people laugh.  In general, people like me."  What a self-centered angle.

LOVING OTHERS?  Sounds easy.

But without FIRST LOVING GOD WITH ALL I AM AND HAVE, then there is no need to try to add more facets to the gameplan. 

I know I need to get back to the basics on this one. 



  1. We can't love God or anyone else until we realize how much God loves us.

    His loving and dying for us sounds so simple, but He had to write the entire rest of the Bible just to drive home this one point.

  2. Great analogy! I agree, it is so, so hard to do just the basics!!! Most days I don't even know where to begin. Thanks for the reminder that "I am third." I needed to hear it in its simplicity once again.

    Keep up the good work, Bloggerson.

  3. Btw, my basketball strategy was the "act-like-you-have-a-clue-and-pray-for-a-running-clock". it's a unique game plan that I developed after watching a bunch of Duke basketball training videos and realizing that I have no clue how to play or coach basketball. Those poor girls. They stunk and all their coach could think about during the game was how many hot dogs he was going to devour after the game. What a combination!