by Stan Mitchell
“His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12, ESV).
The whistle sounded, and coach’s gruff voice summoned the young men. They crowded round him like pilgrims around a fire on a winter evening. For a few moments the gym rang with the echoes of bouncing balls and men’s shouts. Then all was quiet.
They knew why he had called them. The time had come to cut players — to pare their numbers down to twelve. Ten or eleven young men would be disappointed; the others would be there to play the season for their college. Stars and walk-ons, hustlers and prima donnas held their breath.
He began to read out the names. Some were surprised to be left out; others had lived in hope, despairing at a pass gone astray, thrilling at a fast break that ended in a basket. There were always reasons, because they knew coach to be hard — but fair.
He loved gym rats who practiced their jump shots late into the night; he loved players who dived for loose balls, collecting what he called “rug burns.” He loved unselfish players who passed to the open man and set screens for others. The teams he chose reflected his personality — hard working, energetic and unselfish.
Winnowing happens in everyday life. Employees who work hard get promoted. Couples who work on their marriages have good ones.
And one day, the Lord of heaven and earth — the fairest coach who ever lived — will choose his team. Some will be cut, others included.
Do you know the sort of player Coach likes?
by Stan Mitchell