Why Coach Tom Thibodeau Reminds Me of Jesus

In case you didn’t know, I am a pretty enthusiastic Chicago Bulls fan. When I’m not doing something important, I am busily keeping up with my beloved Bulls from California.

As most Bulls fans know, one of the staples of Chicago basketball of the last few years has been our fearless coach. Battling injury after injury, Coach Thibs is known for his absolutely relentless pushing of his players for excellence despite the odds being against them. He is a battle general in the huddle, never letting the men he leads in front of them to settle for less than victory.

You should continue reading why I’m talking about Thibs afterwards, but this video has some great soundbites and demonstrates the heart behind our beloved warrior coach:

Okay, now why am I talking about Tom Thibodeau?

The truth is, I was reading my Bible this morning and I began to see characteristics of Jesus in our coach.

I’m in Luke 12-13 and at this juncture, Jesus has kind of shifted his demeanor and the tone of his teaching. Instead of teaching spiritual principles of peace and blessedness, he now is rattling off rebuke after rebuke, correction after correction, and warning after warning.

He has no issue with calling people “hypocrites” at this point. He warns the rich that they’re “fools”. He questions why the people are so stubborn as to not being able to interpret spiritual times. And uses every question the people ask him as an opportunity to say “repent, or you will all likewise perish.”

I think the crux of his teaching in these chapters is in Luke 12:35, when he says, “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning.”

One can read Luke 1-11 and be so impressed and in awe of Jesus and suddenly we come to these hard chapters of 12-13 and it’s like Jesus is saying, “Just in case you thought I was a safe guy…” I mean, this is the stuff that really offends people. What gives?

I realized that Jesus’ passion and vigor here is elicited by his absolute relentlessness against spiritual apathy. 

His warnings are directed at people who think they’ve arrived spiritually. It is to those who have lost their edge, their passion, and hunger. It is coach Jesus at work. Out of seeing how far people have yet to go in their walk comes the passion from his mouth. And so he corrects, rebukes, and warns–he is calling his team into battle.

If you’ve ever read Luke 12-13, I invite you to read it in the perspective of Jesus being our coach, it’ll keep you from being offended and instead, in the place of thankfulness that someone is actually cheering you on.

Is Jesus like Coach Thibs or is Coach Thibs like Jesus? Maybe the more I think about it, Coach Thibs is more like Jesus. Jesus is leading his people into battle and he’ll never let us settle for less than what he’s made us capable of.

I love Coach Jesus.

I want Coach Jesus to holler in my ears. To push me to be great. To never let me settle for mud pies when there is a feast to be fought for. He is the reason I’ll finish running the race of life. I always have ways to grow, always have things to accomplish, always have glory to experience, and I’m glad coach Jesus is there to push me all the way.

 

Posted by Phillip Chan

Phil has been writing in the Black Box for 10 years. His passion is to grow in his love for Jesus to obey his purposes in our generation.

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