Winter 2022

Daily Devotional: Monday, December 12 - A Lesson From My Basketball Girls

“And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.'” — Matthew 18:3-5

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It was 1996 when I got a call to see if I would be willing to coach a girls’ basketball team for Pampa Academy in Texas. I had coached boys off and on for about 20 years in baseball, basketball and football, and I tried coaching girls one year in volleyball. So I said I would, and thus began an incredible journey that lasted through 2003 — eight amazing years. During that time, I learned a lot of lessons from my girls. Here is one of them.

It was our first season and our schedule had been put together based on our boys’ team, which was very good and experienced. We were playing a public high school team from a nearby town. In warmups, you could see that 1) they were good, and 2) our girls were completely inexperienced. We even had middle-school-aged girls playing in order to form a team.

I talked to the opposing coach, and he said they would take it easy on us. We lost 88-8. They full-court pressed in the first half and half-court pressed in the second. And there wasn’t a thing I could do to stop it. I never wanted to punch anyone so badly in my whole adult life. It was all I could do to shake his hand.

Then the girls and I prayed like we did after every game. One of the girls asked to lead the prayer. She thanked God for the opportunity to play sports, asked God to bless the other team throughout the season with safety and no injuries, and thanked God for helping our team play our best. And, she said it all with a smile.

She had the attitude I should have had. I learned a lot that day, and many other days while coaching these girls. We often think we only learn from older, wiser folks, but we must never dismiss the wisdom we can gain from humble, childlike faith.

— Mike Sublett, Pastor of Hi-Land Christian Church, Pampa, Texas

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