Unless you are at least vaguely familiar with the National Basketball Association you will not recognize the name that heads this article. Gregg Popovich is and has been the coach of the San Antonio Spurs for as long as I can remember. According to a Google search he began coaching the Spurs in 1996 which would make this his twenty-fourth year as their head coach. He has been NBA Coach of the Year three times and has won five championships with the Spurs. We would all say that is fairly impressive and that he has been successful as a coach.
There was an article about him in the Star News SportsTicker on Wednesday, February 17, 2016. The article was titled His Way, with a subtitle which read San Antonio’s Secret. It was pointed out that the Spurs are surrounded by teams who show off with glamour and glitz, while the Spurs just show up, play their game and go home, usually winners. Pre-game warm-ups are simple, orderly, and efficient. There is no showboating and wasting of energy. Players want to play for San Antonio in spite of coach Pop’s reputation of being very strict. He is intelligent but thinks differently and the players love him. His persona commands respect from those he meets.
Even though he is a successful coach he refuses to reveal the secret of his success. Players have been drawn to the team desiring to learn the secret only to find out that there is no secret. Coach Pop and the Spurs are successful because they have found a formula that works and have stuck with it over the years. They have not chased after every new scheme or fad but have remained true to themselves. Over the years the coach and the philosophy have remained the same and they have consistently produced and modeled greatness, on and off the court.
This is not meant to be a sports article. The title, His Way, intrigued me. As I read the article I saw similarities with the Christian life. Christians in the American society are constantly bombarded with new fads, music, books, programs, thoughts and teachings. These things change as fast as a leaf blown about by the wind. We seem locked into a struggle of constant change as we try to model others. We are looking for success, searching for a formula that works. It is so hard to keep up with what is beneficial and what is not. Lines are constantly blurred as to what Biblical Christianity really looks like. Churches are continually competing for members and seeking new ways to get people in the door.
We have lost sight of what Jesus taught, what His followers ought to look and act like. We have sold our integrity for a chance to win the membership lottery. Integrity is what the world is looking for in Christians. They want truth, but not just truth, they want truth that changes life and makes it different. We must live His Way, holding fast to His truth and not be swayed to follow the crowd. We must follow Jesus and live by His teachings, which is the only formula that works in the spiritual realm. Our consistency in living a humble Spirit-filled life, a life of faith, totally depending on God, will model spiritual greatness and power that only the Holy Spirit can produce. Then Jesus will be glorified, His grace will abound, and His power will be evident.
Let us follow Coach Pop’s and the Spur’s example and stick with God’s Way till Jesus returns.
Hugh Folds – Interim Pastor