Increasing or Decreasing?
No, this is not an article about the latest fad diet or weight-loss gimmick. My hope is that this article will cause you to pause and evaluate which choice you have made. Many men, even men in the church, find the more success they experience the more their ego increases and reliance on God decreases. We somehow think that we accomplished our success on our own merits and therefore we deserve to increase our self-value and we all too often forget who gave us the gifts that we used to achieve success. I want to share an example of what can happen when we ignore God and decide we know better than God what it is we need to do.
Jerry Moore, longtime head football coach at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, has experienced much success in his career as a football coach. One of the most recent notes was his Division I-AA team’s victory over the University of Michigan in the “Big House” which holds 107,501 fans; one of the most dreaded venues for any opposing team to meet a home team. While the Mountaineers victory received national attention, it was just another of many accomplishments that can be placed on the resume of Jerry Moore. He has a tremendous career record of 181-116-2 in a 25 year coaching history. He has won national championships and been selected as National Coach of the Year for two years straight.
Jerry began his coaching career in 1961 and climbed his way up the coaching ranks by moving to five different schools from 1965-1988. When you listen to Jerry talk about his career, he doesn’t focus on the success so much as he tells you what happened when he was asked to take the head coaching job at Texas Tech. Jerry will tell you he prayed about every move he has made except one, Texas Tech. He talks about how badly he wanted that job and it didn’t matter what anybody else thought including God. He had achieved a level of success in his career and he had conveniently forgotten that what had secured his success was his relationship and reliance on his Heavenly Father. History tells is that Jerry Moore was hired as the head football coach at Texas Tech but goes on to tell us he was fired from Texas Tech in 1985. Here is a guy who had known since his sophomore year in high school that he wanted to be a coach. This is a guy who attended an FCA meeting in Nacogdoches, TX in 1967 and met his personal savior Jesus Christ. The guy who finally got the opportunity to coach at the collegiate level and experienced success in the process of getting there was now unemployed and no one was willing to hire him. Jerry would tell you how they lived off of his wife’s salary as a teacher while he was a volunteer coach at the University of Arkansas. Finally a call came asking him if he would be interested in taking the coaching job at Appalachian State. You would get a flavor for his sense of humor when he told about how he didn’t really know how to say it and certainly didn’t know how to spell it but he visited Boone, NC and the rest is history. Oh by the way, did I mention that he prayed about this move to ASU. Joshua Cooley wrote in his article “Mountain Man” this description “Ultimately, it’s a story about how God eventually replaced football in a football junkie’s heart.” David Daly, FCA’s area director for Northwest North Carolina said “His legacy is not wins and losses and national championships. It’s what a difference he makes in kids’ lives.” It is well worth noting that while Jerry has experienced a great deal of success he is described as a man with absolutely no sign of arrogance or superiority. When talking about lessons learned and Jerry’s study of Scripture he says “As you read through those, it just keeps coming up– God’s faithfulness and God’s timing. Just yesterday, I read that I can make all the plans I want, but God is the one who finalizes plans.” While there is no doubt that Jerry Moore is a football coach extraordinaire, make no bones about the fact that he loves to share his faith and reliance on Jesus.
We must make a conscious choice that no matter what our circumstance or situation we find ourselves dealing with, we choose to give God the glory. John 3: 30-31 states “He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.” You see, I must allow Him to increase and I have to decrease because “He who comes from heaven is above all.” No matter how well educated or successful we become, no matter how high we might go in the rankings of our sport or profession, we are still only capable of speaking of earthly things. It is when we decrease and allow God to increase that we find ourselves in a position to move beyond our earthly restrictions and with His guidance and help we can do all things (“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4: 13 ) As God’s man, we must maintain focus every moment of every day as to where our true strength comes from and when we accomplish that objective, we will quickly see that the place importance is on God and not ourselves. Are you working to increase or decrease? That is the question that we must keep before us as we run the race of life that God has set for us. God wants us to use the talents that He has given us to the best of our ability but not at the expense of our relationship with Him. Our success or failure pales in comparison to what is really important and that is relying fully and completely on our Lord and Savior and giving Him the glory no matter how the world may define our situation. When we do this, we can truly show the world around us what God’s man is all about!