Lukewarmness and the call of a football coach

I came across this video of former Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach today and it just struck me as amazing. For those of you who don’t know, Mike Leach was a very successful coach at Texas Tech for several years before he was fired just before the team’s bowl game in December. He is not a conventional person and has been viewed as a loose cannon. His firing came in the wake of allegations he locked one of his players in a closet after that player had suffered a concussion. He is a man who has his own methods and has been portrayed as someone who speaks freely, whether it is seen as correct or not. There are many who admire him for his candor and boldness.

Because he felt unfairly treated by the university in being fired, his story has not gone away quietly. Thus, the video is something that has come to light recently, showing how he addressed his players during this past season as a way of showing what kind of character he has. What I found interesting about the video was that in it he addresses those on the team who were Christians, the ones he referred to as “the God Squad.” On one hand, he acknowledges the way the publicly show their faith, yet he is derisive as well. I found it revealing in the way he told them they need to be focused on playing football and not let their prayers distract them from that goal. He even misapplies scripture from Revelations about Jesus “spewing out” the lukewarm believers of Laodicea as a way of saying he doesn’t want half-hearted players.

There are so many things to think about in this. Even though Mike Leach comes across as harsh, I think he fairly represents the way a lot of people view Christianity. It is something that is all right to have, as long as it doesn’t interfere with “real life.” Many people who actually consider themselves Christians may share this view. Is that what God is saying in I Corinthians 10:31 when he says “so whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God”? That verse is not pointing to a compartmentalized Christianity but rather a faith that seeps out of every area in your life. Certainly, it means to strive for excellence in everything you do (which someone like Mike Leach could appreciate). But it doesn’t mean that are areas where it must take a back seat. We are citizens of heaven first and foremost.

Now, I understand a football coach trying to motivate his players to strive for excellence. The point to remember is that if we call ourselves Christians, it does not mean that we set aside the tasks in life that we are faced with in order to serve God. Half-hearted, mediocre football players don’t bring glory to God as neither do half-hearted coaches, teachers, parents, students or whatever. We work hard, not because that is our goal, but because it shows that we are humbly looking to God as our all in all.

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