On the Right Team
When I was younger, I played a lot of different sports. I was pretty athletic, not a standout at any of them, but usually in the starting lineup. That might lead you to believe I was better than I really was; I was really only just average. I played on below average teams. In fact, I was never on a “winning” team. I went to poorer schools which tended to have poor resources, poor equipment, and poor coaching. That is, until my senior year.
Coach “J” came out of retirement from coaching a winning state university basketball team for many years and had pity on our pathetic little team. He ran us like dogs, but he taught us how to win. He made sure we had the right equipment and I think it was he who personally bought us all nice, new matching shoes and uniforms. Everything we needed to be successful, he provided.
It began to get noticed locally and instead of being made fun of for another losing season, people would often refer to us, instead of the name of the school, as “Coach J’s boys”. We wore that title like a badge of honor. We were proud to be on his team. He was a good man, an excellent coach, and knew how to lead us successfully to victory. We trusted him and he never let us down. The name “Coach J” carried with it some weight. His name was associated with winning, honesty, gentleness, discipline, and trust.
We live in a day and age where people don’t seem to care about what is associated with their name. They don’t care what their reputation is. But God does.
JEHOVAH is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1 KJV (Hebrew added)
Throughout history, there have been many gods, many idols, many gurus, many “shepherds”. But there has only ever been one true God. Unlike any other gods, He actually loves and cares for His own like His sheep. He has not only told them He loved them; He demonstrates it continually. When times are hard, He may not take away the drought or the storms. But we can be confident that he will always be there to love us and care for us through them.
So, while the other gods leave their followers lonely, abandoned, and in the cold when times get tough. We have a God that is there, joining us the whole time, making sure we “shall not want”. We are fortunate that our God knows what we need, what we need to survive, and what we need to win. We have so much to be thankful for, but particularly, that we are on the right team, His team. We can be proud to be called by His name. His name is JEHOVAH, and He is MY Shepherd.
Dr. Ronald J. Barnes Jr
October 5, 2021