Fall is football season, so I was thinking about how stressful being a National Football League coach must be (or college coach, etc.). I can not remember where I came across this list, but take a moment and consider the stress of being an NFL coach:
- He has all eyes on him on Sunday.
- He has many personalities and players to relate to on the team.
- He deals with a competitive environment.
- He can be fired or on the hot seat at a moment’s notice.
- He must be careful with what he says on and off the field.
- He has to be knowledgeable about offense, defense, and special teams.
- He will have people play Monday morning quarterback.
- He sees many more people who are spectators than are players.
- He can face pressure to turn a team around quickly.
- He has to start getting ready for next Sunday as soon as this Sunday is over.
This description is not just the pressure NFL coaches face. This is also what a pastor may feel like he is facing. So, let me ask you to pray for your pastor. Pastor, let me ask you to pray for your fellow pastors.
As followers of Jesus, we must rely on the strength of the Lord. We need to seek the strength of the Lord. We need to read the Word and pray. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to have fellowship with the Lord and His people. We need to know we, too, can turn to the Lord.
I can only imagine the stress and worries these coaches feel and face. Whether you are a pastor or not, we all feel stress, and we can all have our worries. 1 Peter 5:7 has blessed my soul recently, and I pray it will encourage you today:
“casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)
1 Peter 5:7 starts mid-sentence. When we go back to verse 6, we read, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you…”
How do we respond to the worries, the stress, and the anxieties we may face?
- Humble ourselves under the Lord. Pride is a real and present danger. Lord, forgive me. In my pride, I worry because of my self-sufficiency and self-reliance. In my pride, I can be anxious about the future. I need to humble myself “under the mighty hand of God.”
- Hand off our worries to the Lord. If you watch a football game this weekend, notice how everyone follows the quarterback until something happens—he hands the ball off. I need to hand off my worries to the Lord. Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Who else but the Lord can make this promise?
- Trust the Lord cares for us. A prayer: “Father, in Your grace and mercy, you care for me. Your love is steadfast, strong, and stable. You are not surprised or caught off guard by the moments I face. I confess to You that I worry and can be anxious. I confess my pride. Thank You for Your forgiveness, for Your sanctifying purpose, and for Your presence in my life. You care for us. Therefore, I can cast my cares to you. Praise the Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Your brother in Christ,
P.S. Please make plans to join us November 12–14 at The Heights Baptist Church, just south of Richmond, Virginia, for the SBCV Annual Homecoming. This edition of the Proclaimer contains more information, as does sbcv.org. This year’s theme is “The Lord Is with You: Relying on His Strength.”