Samson, Joshua, Solomon and Football

07 Nov

rforh CEO, Wade Wacker, shares some real life lessons from his time as a football coach.

Reasons for Hope’s CEO Wade Wacker has been busy this fall coaching his son’s high school football team.  As a Christian first, and a coach second, Wade’s desire is to build into the young men, not only the lessons of the game but also the lessons of life.  He shares his experience of teaching a biblical lesson prior to last week’s game.

 Samson, Joshua, Solomon and Football
 Pre-game Pep Talk
By Wade Wacker, Reasons for Hope 

Recently our football team played in the Section semi-finals.  There were two 8-1 teams meeting on a beautiful Saturday afternoon for the right to advance to the Section finals.  This was a big game against a near-by school so excitement was at an all time high.   

As the coaches do every pre-game, we met in a classroom to go over final game plans, talk to the players to get them in the right mindset, and then close in prayer before going out to the field.  Normally, a coach prays, but on this day we asked if a player would like to say the team prayer.  As we scanned the room we got our volunteer.  Just as we were about to start, one of the players asked, “When we pray why do we ask for  ‘the strength of Samson, the courage of Joshua, and the wisdom of Solomon’?” 

The door was open, and we seized the opportunity.  For the next 20 minutes we explained to the young men about Samson, Joshua and Solomon and the historical accounts we find about these men in the Bible.   

We told them that Samson was a man with great strength and he was renowned for his ability to kick butt (OK, not a biblical term, but it’s definitely a football term).  However Samson did not listen to the Lord and because of his lack of discipline his strength was taken away.  After being humbled Samson realized his mistake and asked the Lord to restore his strength one more time so he could defeat the enemy.   

That is why we ask for the strength of Samson. 

Joshua knew that the men of Israel were greatly outnumbered by the enemy when he was told by the Lord to take the city of Jericho.  He was also told by the Lord to use tactics that seemed really odd.  The priests were to walk around the city for  six days blowing trumpets.  The people were to do nothing.  On the  seventh day the people were to walk around the city seven times, and have the priests blow the horns and then all the people were to shout as loud as they could.  Really?  This city was fortified like no other.  The Israelites were out numbered and the battle could result in many fatalities.   

Joshua’s response was to trust the Lord and do what he asked.  The Israelites executed the game plan set before them by Joshua, and they followed the Lord’s instructions.   On the seventh day as the trumpets blew and the people shouted, the walls of Jericho came tumbling down and the people of Israel took the city —  just as the Lord said they would.   

That is why we ask for the courage of Joshua.   

Finally, Solomon was son of the great King David who was of the Tribe of Judah, the family line of Jesus.  Solomon was to be king and he was very faithful to God.  God told Solomon he could have whatever he wanted, but instead of choosing strength, riches, fame, looks or power, Solomon was humble enough to ask for wisdom.  The Lord was so pleased with Solomon’s humble request that He blessed Solomon with much more.  Making smart choices will lead to staying out of trouble, on and off the field, and a life that will be God-honoring.   

That is why we ask for the wisdom of Solomon. 

It is not always the greatest athlete who wins.  More often it is the one who can make good decisions under fire.  The first good decision is to choose God, and then to have the humbleness to ask for the kind of strength and courage and wisdom that only He can give. 

The most intriguing part of the 20 minute pre-game pep talk was that the attention of every person in the room was focused on the biblical teachings; you could hear a pin drop.    In that environment, with players excited to go out and play football, there was a peace that was inspiring.  Looking into their eyes we could see an affirmation of their understanding — they now understood why we ask in prayer for strength, courage and wisdom.   

The pre-game prayer was then given by a player. One of the coaches, proclaimed “go blow your horns” and we finally made it out onto the field to play the game — but the real game took place in that room.  The Holy Spirit was strong in that room and everyone felt it.  Although some of the players might not know Him, we pray their hearts will be open and they will find Him. 

Wade Wacker

Wade Wacker is a founding board member and the chief executive officer of Reasons for Hope. With a degree in financial planning, more than 23 years experience, and as the owner of a successful financial practice, Wade uses his business experience, along with a heart devoted to serving the Lord Jesus Christ, to guide and direct Reasons for Hope. Prior to Wade’s work in the financial industry, He was a minor league ball player for the Minnesota Twins. With two sons and a daughter, Wade enjoys coaching and mentoring their sports teams. Wade and his wife Stacey, and their children, Joshua, Shadrach and Lacey live in Jackson, MN.