Before the pandemic, I think in late 2019 a dear friend of mine came to me with the idea of writing a book. Challenged me to think about how Jesus would have used His teachings, His Godly example in the locker room, on the sidelines as a coach, during victories as well as defeats.
I started my writing career as a journalist on the sports field. As a writer I penned stories of play by play action and often interviewed a player after games, but always after every game, the coaches--some not so pleasant after a tough loss. And I wrote feature stories about young inspiring athletes. Their stories still today leave me in awe.
Talking with my friend and studying and researching about Jesus' teachings, the one story I kept coming back to was this--the story of Jesus asking Peter, not once, but three times, 'Do you love me Peter?' Peter, he answered yes the first time, and Jesus replied, "Feed my lambs." And the second time Jesus posed the question, Peter said yes. Jesus answered, "Feed my sheep." And for the third time, the question was the same, Peter, "Lovest thou me?" Peter once again said, yes. Jesus replied, "Feed my sheep." (John 21:15-17)
I want to share with you over the next few months excerpts of Feed my Lambs, Feed my Sheep--Coaching Jesus' Way, the devotional or book--however it turns out--God's will. And one of the most special things about working on this writing project has been this--some coaches have agreed to share their story--in their own words.
Logan Jones is my niece's husband and a loved member of our family. When I asked him to consider sharing his faith story and choosing a couple of the topics from Feed my Lambs, Feed my Sheep--Coaching Jesus' Way, outline--he was quick to say yes. I'm honored and blessed he chose to partner in this project. Thank you, Logan.
Logan Jones, a native of Zebulon, North Carolina, is in his fifth season with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. Logan earned his undergraduate degree in Exercise and Sport Sciences & Health Sciences from Guilford College and was a member of the Quakers’ baseball team. Prior to his time with the D-backs, he completed strength and conditioning internships at the University of Kentucky and Wake Forest University with a variety of sports including volleyball, soccer, track & field, field hockey, and baseball. With the Diamondbacks, he is currently assigned to the Class-AA Amarillo Sod Poodles located in Amarillo, Texas. Logan is a Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach (RSCC) through the NSCA, a Sports Performance Coach through USA Weightlifting, and a Licensed Massage Therapist in the State of Arizona.
It's Not About You
When I think of the phrase ‘it’s not about you’, I think of embodying selflessness. To understand what selflessness truly is, we must also understand what it means to be selfish. In its most simplistic form, selfishness is putting the desires of oneself before those of others, whereas selflessness is truly loving and caring for your neighbor as yourself. I have been fortunate in growing up in the church, having supportive family and friends, and being a member of many different teams through my experience as an athlete and coach. These experiences have transformed my outlook on what it means to put others before myself.
Playing the game of baseball, I found it easy to focus on myself without worry as to what my coaches or teammates were doing or expected of me. The priority was to hold myself accountable through my own actions in ways I found led to on-field success. If I achieved personal success in a given task, I was content. It was not until later in my collegiate career that I realized my personal decision-making, actions, and consequences affected my coaches, teammates, family, and friends – the people surrounding me. Ultimately, I came to the realization that I found the greatest fulfillment in watching others succeed. It actually was not about me at all. It was about them.
In referencing the Book of Matthew and the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus exemplifies an extraordinary example of selflessness. He states that we must not only help and assist our allies, but we must love our enemies and pray for our persecutors. After all, it is relatively easy for us to show affection to those who have influenced us in positive ways. Taking a larger leap of faith may include setting aside feelings of hurt and pain in an effort to become more like God himself. Additionally, selflessness involves more than just putting other people first, it means putting God first.
As Christians, we are called to follow Jesus’ ultimate example of sacrifice. He came to Earth not for His own benefit, but for the benefit of all humankind. Again, we have a decision to make. Are we concerned primarily with our well-being or the well-being of others?
I have found throughout my young journey as a strength & conditioning coach in professional baseball that simply asking ‘what can I do for you today?’ opens the door to limitless possibility. Genuinely seeking to understand how we can live more in the image of Christ by making ourselves available to others is powerful. Unfortunately, it has taken time and mistakes made along the way for me to come to the realization that the only way to fill my cup on a daily basis is through helping other people achieve whatever it is they have set out for themselves to achieve.
Without the love, support, and guidance from the Lord Jesus Christ, we have no chance in upholding the selfless standard I have spoken of in this writing. Thus, it is imperative we put our faith in Him moving towards a place of selfless behavior. This is the only space in which we are permanently molded and changed for the better. We must strive to be less whereas the Lord is more.