We are made for relationship. Relationship with God and others. Follow this thought from Paul’s letter to the Philippians (2:5-8):
Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Jesus didn’t have to come from Heaven to dwell with us. But He did. He chose to serve us. All of us. He came to be in relationship with us and to express the importance of relationship in His teachings. The importance of Christ making this choice cannot be overstated. He didn’t stay in Heaven, turn the clock, and let everything go. He came to earth, to know and be known.
With this being the case, why do we justify barriers to relationship? As a player, you might choose to dislike a teammate, to hold onto a hurt, or to look down upon someone. As a coach, you might choose to protect yourself from relationships with parents, or draw lines in the sand that keeps you from knowing your players (or them knowing you). I’m not talking about the obvious boundaries protecting us all from inappropriate relationships. I’m talking about having a group of students over to your house for a barbecue, or a game, or inviting kids to come to church with you and your family. Like Christ, we should seek to know and be known.
The Maker of Life invested in our life. He seeks to dwell in each of us through the Holy Spirit. Take time in the next month to build deeper relationships. Talk about the pennant races, and invite players and teammates over for the World Series. Pull your players into your office and have a conversation about their life. Grab your teammates and do something together as a group in a low-pressure environment. It’s the best time in the annual cycle of college, high school, and youth baseball programs to invest in lives as a foundational element to your coaching. In this you will be living out the essence of servant leadership as Christ did.