Boys Varsity Football
I’m excited….wish we could play right now!
“Your brand is not what you say it is, but what you deliver day in and day out.”
-Nick Westbrook – Owner/Operator Chic Fil A
Last Spring, I started the DEMAND EXCELLENCE podcast. I have actually really enjoyed it as I get to interview great coaches and leaders. I have learned so much by talking with different people. One of my favorite interviews was with Nick Westbrook who is an Owner/Operator of a Chic Fil A. (You can listen to the Podcast if you click this link) I have always been intrigued by the success of Chic Fil A and I read about them as much as possible because they are one of the most successful service businesses in the world. You might argue with me that they are not in the service industry as they deliver a physical product. But when you study Chic Fil A, you will find out they pride themselves on their service to the customer and the community. Nick said many profound things on that podcast, but this is what has been ringing in my ears all summer: “your brand is not what you say it is, but what you deliver day in and day out.”
We live in an era where kids can proclaim all types of nonsense on multiple social media outlets. Through Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or any other social media platform, we all can create a fake reality; we can make ourselves look like something we are not. However, even though we are not what we say we are or what we portray ourselves to be, we actually start to believe the lie that we have created as our fake reality.
For example, you may be a very miserable person, but you portray yourself as happy. You may portray yourself as the perfect husband, but in reality, your addicted to lust and unfaithfulness. You may portray yourself as confident and strong, but you are actually very insecure. Or my favorite, you might portray yourself as a winner and a hard worker, but I see you get beat every single day at practice.
One particular young man came to practice this week and one of the assistant coaches was giving him a hard time because he never stops running his mouth and he picks at people. I happen to like the kid so I told him: “I don’t care what you say or how much you run your mouth because I don’t hear any of it. I hear with my eyes.” Now, he knows where I stand on his picking at people and I don’t commend it. This kid is smart and he has heard me say many times: “Your actions speak so much louder than your words.” He instantly got what I was saying. The kid busts his tail at practice. He does whatever I ask him to do. We can run him into the dirt and he keeps on going. He has gone from just a soft wimpy kid when I met him in the 8thgrade, to one of the strongest kids on our team and a relentless worker. (He is not the best football player yet and not a good leader yet, but he potentially will be one day.)
So, for me, all of this kid’s obnoxious character traits don’t bother me a bit, because, for one, he is 16 and then each day he delivers from a work ethic standpoint. He gives his all each and every day in the weight room and on the field. Yes, he has some pride issues he needs to kill and some other character traits that the Holy Spirit needs to reform (I’m not sure if the Holy Spirit is working in him yet), but as a football coach I have great respect for his tenacity. Is he the perfect football player? No. He has attention to detail issues but they aren’t intentional. His effort is there and his desire is there. From an effort standpoint, this young man delivers day in and day out. I can work with this.
Now, a few of my players are the opposite. I believe they have a desire to be great and they will tell me they want to be great. They say they want to be great but I do not equate them with young men that truly desire to become their absolute best. They want to create an illusion of hard work and discipline with their mouths, but all I know is what I see; their brand is not what they say it is. They aren’t workers. They cannot discipline themselves in adverse situations and push through. They sit back and allow life to happen instead of taking ownership in the pain and sacrifice required to become our absolute best. I am here to help them through this and hold them accountable to actually deliver on their proclamations. I think they despise me for it but I can’t give in.
As Christians, we are the exact same. You can post a Bible verse on your Facebook or twitter, you can go to church every time the doors are open, but your relationship with Christ is not what you say it is, it is what you deliver on a day in and day out basis. I talk with many coaches and they seem to say the same thing a lot of times: “I need to be a better Christian.” Well, be one! If one of my players came up to me and said they aren’t giving their best effort and they need to do better, it would enrage me. Of course, they would never say that to me because I would have already seen it and be yelling at them, but why is our pursuit of Jesus Christ less than our pursuit of winning or success in this world? Good coaches don’t sit around and fret over not working hard enough as a coach. Good coaches work. That’s true for anyone who desires excellence in any profession.
As a football coach, every day is an opportunity. Every day is a chance to improve upon our mistakes from yesterday. If we want to win, each day has its own sense of urgency towards improvement. If we look the same as a football team at the end of the year as we do right now then we are horrible coaches. Let me ask you this…let me ask myself this: “Why do we not live with this same sense of urgency as Christians?”
When God called you to surrender your life to himself, when he opened your eyes to the truth of God as Creator, Sustainer, and Savior, your brand changed. You were once a brand of the world. Our father was Satan and we served and worshiped self and the things of this world. We looked and acted like the world. Our mouths were full of filth because our minds were full of filth. Our actions were disgusting because our thoughts were disgusting. Our brand maybe was appealing to the world but despised and hated by God. But, when Christ called us, we became sons and heirs to the eternal Kingdom of God:
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, the heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” Romans 8:16-17
So now, as Sons and heirs, we are to be transformed in the image of God:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
Before Christ, even though we were blind to our reality, our brand was sinning against the Almighty God. Our brand was rejecting the commands and laws of God. Our brand was self-righteousness, pride, envy, greed, covetousness, jealousy, anger, wrath, etc. Our brand was disgusting. But now, in Christ, we belong to the best brand: Christ. And we are to put on Christ and we are to work hard to represent Christ in the right way. I challenge us all: To be diligent and faithful workers for the Kingdom of God. To be men and women who strive daily to be the best ambassadors for Jesus Christ. To be men and women who strive daily to get into God’s word and pray. To be men and women full of love, joy, peace, patience, self-control, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness. To be men and women who are humble and count themselves as insignificant. To men and women who do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit. To be man and women who count others as more important than themselves. To be men and women who are faithful to our husbands or wives, our families, and service to the community. What a beautiful brand this would be: “Your brand is not what you say it is, but what you deliver day in and day out.” Make no mistake, this brand I just discussed only comes from a diligent pursuit of Jesus Christ through his Word, Prayer, and the power of his Holy Spirit working in our hearts.
Me to players: Quit sitting around and talking about being a great football player---BE ONE!
God to me: Don’t sit around and proclaim to “want to be a better Christian.” BE ONE!
Fired up and ready to play tonight!!!!
“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.”
Lord, Sovereign God of all things, Creator, Sustainer, and Savior: May we represent you and bring your name honor. May we give our very best effort and play to the best of our ability. Give us great attitudes, a spirit to work, and may you protect us. Your will be done. Amen.
Wholly for Christ,