coach setting up practice

Sacrifice for Others

Some of the best movie plots involve people who choose to accept dangerous assignments for the good of others. It’s the story of the soldier who runs toward enemy fire in order to rescue his buddies. It’s the story of the woman who accepts the blame for something she didn’t do in order to rescue someone who is in desperate need. It’s boxer Jimmy Braddock who goes without food because he wants his kids to eat. When we see it portrayed on the big screen, we’re moved, touched by that kind of sacrificial love.

Many years ago, I was out late at night and was talking to a coach who was grabbing dinner at Whataburger. I was coming back from a late-night hospital emergency, and he had just finished up a ballgame. He would be back at the fieldhouse by 5:30 the next morning to deal with laundry, get ready to teach, and help injured athletes as they arrived very early for treatment. I thought of the hours of parenting he was missing, the very limited number of hours he would sleep, and the fact that I knew he would repeat the same schedule the next night.

I asked him, “How do you do this? WHY do you do this? I love sports, but this life you try to lead is nuts!”

He chuckled good-naturedly and he said, “I do it for the kids. Some of these kids have no dad engaged in their lives. I’m a surrogate. Some of these kids have no help with their homework. I’m a surrogate tutor. They don’t really have another option, so I can give them that kind of help.”

“Yeah, but you’re wearing yourself out,” I said.

“If I see these kids gain some confidence and self-esteem, if I can help them make it through high school in better shape, that’s what it’s all about. That’s why I became a coach. Someone helped me when I needed it, so now I help them because they need it.”

Is that the same kind of conversation Jesus had with the Angels? He knew He would be despised and rejected, mocked, beaten, crucified, and buried. But He also knew I needed Him. He knew that centuries later, I would have a mess I couldn’t clean up, a broken heart, a short fuse for anger–and my conscience would convict me. I wouldn’t have another option, so He would give me that kind of help–GRACE help.

So we continue that relay of grace for others. Not because we have it together or are above the fray, but because we have RECEIVED grace, we now give our lives to pass that on to others. THAT is our calling. When we see the results in people we have loved and served, even when we’re tired, we see that and know it’s worth the sacrifice!

Where is God calling YOU to make a difference?



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