My dad has coached high school basketball for over 25 years. He has told me a number of times that he would rather have an average player who is coach able than a very talented player who does not want instruction. Let me explain. My father played college basketball, and even had the privilege of playing in the Pan American Games. He has played for some of the best coaches around, including former NBA coach, Cotton Fitzimmons. My dad has seen thousands of basketball games played by thousands of players. He knows a little bit about the game of basketball. If a player will dedicate himself to learning the principles and techniques my dad will teach him, he can improve his skills and become a very good basketball player.
So here is the point. An average player, who will listen and learn from their coach will develop skills to become a very good, disciplined player. But a kid who has all the talent in the world, but will not listen and learn, will be undisciplined and in the long run, will not help the team. Some of the players my dad has coached have gone on to play college basketball, including a few playing in big time college programs. But he has had other kids who have had tons of talent that never went on to college, because college coaches didn’t want them. You know why? Yep, they weren’t coachable. They wouldn’t take instruction from their coaches and from others who knew the game of basketball.
In the Christian life it is important that we are coachable. God has placed every believer in Jesus Christ in a community of Christians called the church. In that community of believers, there are people who have been through just about everything. They understand what it takes to make wise decisions. They know how to see the pitfalls of life. They know how to avoid dangerous temptations. And they know how to lead people toward victory. It’s funny how God has the ability to bring the right people into our lives in the right situation. These people can help us find God’s will and avoid the mistakes that could harm us.
But sadly, many Christians refuse instruction. They won’t listen to older, wiser Christians. They don’t seek out instruction from other people who have chewed the same dirt which they are going through. They say things like, “Those old people don’t have any business prying into my life.” Or, “What do they know, anyway.” . These Christian see those who give instruction as the enemy, and listen with an ear of rebellion. The writer of Proverbs calls this type of person a scoffer (verse 8). Many times they burn bridges, and leave the church leaders saying the same things about them that my dad says about some of the more talented basketball players. Notice in this chapter how Solomon differentiates between the person who is willing to receive instruction and the one who does not. There is a lot of wisdom in finding the right coaches and listening to them well.
The concept remains the same. An “average” Christian who is coach able has much more potential than a “superstar” Christian who does not want instruction.