Every year in the NCAA Basketball tournament, it is fun to watch the skill level that the top players demonstrate. And yet, with all the talent around and the attention that is paid to the top players in NCAA, there is still a need to remain humble and coachable. The successes a team realizes in a season is largely related to the amount of trust they have in their coach – to buy in to his philosophies and plans and put in the work and effort to execute what he says. A coach plays so many roles – cheer-leader, drill sergeant, father-figure, and game manager.
And when a coach does their job well, their team will buy in to their plans and do anything to execute those plans. We read about that kind of dedication from University of Virginia Cavaliers forward Anthony Gill in this article from The Daily Progress. Even when his coach, Tony Bennet, chose to sit Gill out for the entire first half of a game, he replied
“I trust [Bennett] 100 percent and whatever he wants me to do, I’ll do. I’ll run through a wall for him. He wanted me to sit out the first half and that was fine with me.”
So where does this attitude come from? It comes from trusting God in hard times. A child of divorce, it was when his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer that Gill began to grow in his faith. He initially was upset that his mom was sick, but her positive attitude and resolve helped Gill realize that God was vital to life and he began to grow closer to Him. His mom has been cancer free for over 2 years now, and mother and son continue to depend on God for guidance in life and strength for the challenges of life.
And Coach Bennett is a good coach to team up with as well. As you can read in this article from WSLS.com, coach Bennett is a Christ-follower and is very open about his faith.
Here are my takeaways from this story:
1- Respect Authority – I really like the story in Matthew 8 where a Roman Centurion approaches Jesus to ask for healing for one of his servants. Jesus says “I will come” and the Centurion says, this is not necessary – just say the word and I know it will happen. The Centurion understands authority. He has soldiers under his command and knows that they will do whatever he asks. He is the authority and they must do what he says. Jesus has this same kind of authority over sicknesses. He simply needs to say the words and the servant will be healed -The centurion acknowledges Jesus authority. There is no question in his mind. We see this with Gill and his coach. He trusts his coach and will do whatever he is asked to do. He submits to authority instead of questioning it, knowing his place and ready to follow out of devotion. Are we that dedicated to following God? Are we so devoted to Him and His plan that we will follow wherever He leads and do whatever He asks?
2- You are not your own – Anthony Gill has a scripture verse tattooed on his right arm. It is 1 Corinthians 6.19-20
“Don’t you know that your body is a temple that belongs to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit, whom you received from God, lives in you. You don’t belong to yourselves. You were bought for a price. So bring glory to God in the way you use your body.”
How do we get to the point where we can submit completely to God? We begin by understanding that we are not our own, we are His. He paid the price of Jesus for our lives and our devotion to Him in all we do is the only fitting response. We can bring glory to God in the way we use our body. For Gill, that includes on the basketball court. How can you honor God with what you do and how you act?