The Gaze of a Coach
I used to be a football official for the State of Colorado. My father-in-law talked me into it. He himself is in the Colorado High School Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his many years of excellent officiating. I myself am not. I lasted just a few years. Don’t get me wrong, the outfit was way cool. But as it turned out, I never acquired a taste for getting screamed at or that terrifying gauntlet gallop to my car after the game.
Anyway, football is a useful analogy for helping us to understand Jesus. He seems quite narrow minded in his closing prayer. He has limited prayer to a handful of disciples and for future believers. He explicitly says that the rest of the world, the unbelieving world, is not in his prayers.
So back to football! Why is this a helpful analogy? I’ve been to several NFL games and they can be quite a production. There is something going on everywhere. Some years ago we were “ready for some football” and attended a Monday night game – a big deal. The announcer asked us to look up into the sky. As they darkened the arena, a great number of disabled veterans parachuted down onto the field trailing flares and large flags. The last fellow, sporting two artificial legs, skidded to a stop on the 50 yard line. The place went nuts. It was beautiful. Then there were the mascots, the cheerleaders, the vendors, the booming music, and the crazy fans donning outrageous outfits.
And…none of it had a thing to do with football.
Sequestered far below the stadium were the teams. For several months the head coach had not focused on ANY of the aforementioned hoopla. His concern was with the 40 or so that would make the final cut, and more so, the eleven that would start on offense and on defense. That was it. He would shut out the masses for the success of the few. The fans, the media, the cheerleaders, the sponsors, and the vendors would not be in the “thoughts and prayers” of the coach. The coach knew that if he could replicate his knowledge and his passion – his “spirit” as it were – into the few, then those other things would work themselves out.
And that is not unlike our Lord. He glances at the world but he gazes upon his children. Tomorrow we’ll see how, because of that unchanging gaze, he reaches those in the glance.