Don’t Walk Alone – The 5th Spiritual Law (Part 3)

Don’t Walk Alone (Part #1): People need coaching. “It is not good for man to be alone” Gen 2:18, NIV

Don’t Walk Alone (Part #2): Paul gives Timothy “tools” for coaching, ”All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” -2 Tim 3:16-17

Don’t Walk Alone (Part #3):  Paul gives the Ephesian Church tips for good coaching. Players should be“…built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ.” Eph 4:12-13

Meditation

“Don’t Walk Alone” (Part #1)” Recap: Besides the Four Spiritual Laws, a 5th Spiritual Law exists: “God created man with relational “cavities” that other believers fill.”  In God’s original plan, Christlike character grows when God’s people, through God’s Spirit, complete one another. (Gen2)  Friendship and fellowship is essential for faith to become complete.

“Don’t Walk Alone (Part #2)” Recap: God’s character and values give men“what” nutrients are needed to fill the “cavities” in relationships forged in the crucible of life.  

“Don’t Walk Alone” (Part #3): God’s Spirit teaches us “how” to coach friends in crisis.  Part #3 is about how we coach people until “all attain the whole measure of the fulness of Christ”. (Eph 4:13) 

In 1670, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) described the God-shaped spiritual vacuum inside each man (Pensees, pg 113.)  Three hundred and fifty years later, Drs John Townsend and Henry Cloud identify a similar man-shaped relational vacuum in each man.  Citing 2008 studies by Cacioppo and Patrick[1], Townsend and Cloud write, “Longitudinal studies have proven over and over that without significant supportive relationships, we have more psychological dysfunctions, we have more health problems and we die sooner.” (Townsend & McCloud, People Fuel, p29.  Emphasis added)

Thoughts on Gardening, Coaching and Nutrients.  At the Jan’20 Men’s Breakfast at Prescott Christian Church, Daniel Blake spoke on gardening, coaching and nutrients from Jesus’ vineyard parable in Luke’s gospel (Lk 13: 6-9). 

Then he (Jesus) gave them this parable: “Once upon a time a man had a fig-tree growing in his garden, and when he came to look for the figs, he found none at all. So he said to his gardener, ‘Look, I have come expecting fruit on this fig-tree for three years running and never found any. Better cut it down. Why should it use up valuable space?’ And the gardener replied, ‘Master, don’t touch it this year till I have had a chance to dig round it and give it a bit of manure. Then, if it bears after that, it will be all right. But if it doesn’t, then you can cut it down.’” (JB Phillips)

Daniel, who is an international agricultural expert, stressed how plants depend on outside nutrients.  Plants need essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur, magnesium, sodium, boron, chlorine, manganese, iron, zinc, copper, molybdenum and nickel or they die.  Yavapai County, for example, has 60+ soil types.  Growth is a delicate balance of soil, water content, sun exposure, microbes and carefully-added, missing nutrients. Using the Vineyard Parable, Daniel pointed-out that the fig tree produced fruit when the gardener fed it like a fig tree.

Application

Like soil experts, Godly coaches determine what is needed for personal growth.  Equally important, spiritual maturity helps them know how to apply essential nutrients.  Good coaches balance grace and truth.  In discipleship we learn truth (i.e., God’s Law and character).  As coaches, we practice Christlikeness.  People fruit is grown in soils with generous amounts of grace, love, acceptance, hope, faith, empathy and acceptance … and truth.  Coaching is about empathy, insight and experience.  Good coaches must understand the soil of a person’s heart before applying nutrients.    

Next Steps

Chuck Swindoll, pastor, teacher and Chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary, was once asked to describe a good coach.  He answered that a good coach is a living example of “Modeled Grace”. Then, he told this true story. 

Pastor Chuck and Tom Landry served together on the Board for Dallas Theological Seminary (“DTS”) in the 1970s.  During that tenure, one of the most heinous coaching incidents in college football occurred.  Woody Hayes, the outspoken and fiery Ohio State coach who had amassed five national football championships and thirteen Big Ten titles, slugged Clemson nose guard Charlie Bauman after his game ending interception of an Ohio State pass at the 1978 Gator Bowl.  The punch ended Coach Hayes football coaching career.  He was disgraced and incurred the wrath of the NCAA, the public and every media pundit.  Humiliated and shunned, Hayes retreated in shame from fans and the public eye.

Sometime later, Tom Landry receive an invitation to a very prestigious banquet.  Although Landry would normally have taken his wife, Alicia, he decided to invite Woody Hayes instead.  At the next DTS Board Meeting, Swindoll questioned Landry about his decision.  Landry replied, “I figured since everybody else was beating up on Woody, he needed somebody to put an arm around him and tell him he still loved him.”  Landry’s “modeled grace” lifted Hayes out of his shame and silenced his tormentors.


[1]  Cacioppo and Patrick, “Loneliness: Human Nature and The Need for Social Connection”