I was listening a few days ago to a radio show that featured an interview with a college basketball coach. His team had recently pulled off a few surprising victories. The interviewer acknowledged a good amount of their successes and then asked the coach his thoughts on the games. The coach, without skipping a beat, threw out a cranky, “we didn’t rebound well”.
This is not an anomaly. I have heard interviews like this numerous times in all my years of following sports. I even had coaches like this in high school. No matter how well you play there is always something that can be a little better. Many coaches feel that to rejoice in a success will create a complacent and satisfied team. So rather than focusing on the league leading three point percentage he decides to focus on the teams lack of rebounding.
I am not a coach. Maybe his philosophy of coaching is good. But after listening to that interview two thoughts occurred to me. First, I wouldn’t want to play for that dude. If he would chill out and let us enjoy the game, rejoice in success while simultaneously pushing us to do better then maybe I’d play for him. But I wouldn’t want to play for a cranky coach that can’t celebrate.
A Second Thought
A second thought then occurred to me. People probably get discouraged following a cranky pastor that doesn’t know how to celebrate. “Great job on putting together that Valentine’s banquet, but did you guys notice that the spaghetti was a little too saucy”.
Don’t get me wrong, spaghetti that is too saucy (just like anything too saucy in the church) needs to be corrected. But perhaps there is a time to celebrate success. Maybe there are certain things, like too much oregano, that love should just let slide.
I see this problem all throughout the blogosphere as well. I’ve seen several titles and interview questions asking things like “What is the greatest problem in the church today”, “What needs to change in the SBC”, “What is the churches greatest need”, etc. But I seldom see questions about how the church is prevailing like Jesus said it would. Seldom do I see interviewers probing to discover great success.
I’m not calling for some sort of sentimental, meaningless, sweep-everything-under-the rug, type of mentality. I am merely saying that those of us that have experienced the depth of the Lord’s grace ought to live, preach, teach, and write in such a way that is fitting to such a gift. People that really understand grace don’t gripe about too much oregano or focus on a lack of rebounding, we celebrate the joy of a spaghetti supper or a hard-fought victory.
“It is for freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery”.
That yoke is the law. But underneath that is an idolatrous heart that can never be satisfied or rest in Christ’s work. Living in the freedom that Christ purchased means being able to enjoy spaghetti and basketball without shackling yourself with a yoke of performance.
Live free. Enjoy spaghetti—even if it’s too saucy. Celebrate victories—even if you didn’t rebound well.
P.S. When I say “the church” I mean you—if you are a believer.