Every coach has had a time when their players were “going through the motions” in practice. They were unfocused, lazily running through drills, forgetting plays and assignments.
Fed up with the mistakes, the coach would yell, “Get on the line!” This means his players would go to the baseline and run “suicides” in basketball, or the go to the sideline and run sprints in football, all at the coach’s command. The coach’s discipline is in hopes of correcting the attitude and effort of the players, so they can have a productive practice and, in the end, win the contest on game day.
As coaches, we want our players to obey us and listen to every instruction we have for them. The same actions should follow in our lives as believers in Christ. Our goal should be to make the daily habit of obeying the instructions in His Word the first time. If not, then we would have to deal with the consequence of our disobedience.
One of the areas this is depicted is in 1 Samuel 15. Samuel, receiving the message from God, told King Saul to attack the Amalekites “for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt” (1 Samuel 15:2). King Saul was commanded to “totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them…” (1 Samuel 15:3).
King Saul didn’t follow through completely, keeping alive Agag, the King of the Amalekites, and spared the best of the sheep and cattle and everything that was good (1 Samuel 15:8-9). Immediately the Word of God came down to King Saul over his disobedience. “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions” (1 Samuel 15:11). After hearing that, King Saul was angry and cried out to the Lord all night.
Later, Samuel spoke to King Saul over his decision not to fully obey God’s command. King Saul fooled himself into believing he did everything correctly and even built for himself a monument in celebration (1 Samuel 15:12). But Samuel pointed out King Saul’s disobedience saying, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22). King Saul’s mistake led to him losing his kingship over Israel and paved the way for King David to take over.
It is important as coaches that we teach our players the value of obeying our instructions the first time they are told. But also, it is important that we listen to what God has instructed for us to do the first time. Remember, as the coach you are the first sight of leadership your players see every day. The question you have to ask yourself is, “What type of leader are they following?”