Last week a friend of mine returned to the gym after a long absence. He decided to hire a personal trainer to help him build his strength, balance, and health with appropriate exercises. Before the first appointment with his trainer he told me he was dreading the encounter. He was sure he would end up with a smug 25-year-old know-it-all who would set out to fix his diet, exercise, and life. What he got instead was a gentle, older coach who spoke of the need to balance emotional, physical, and spiritual health: mind, body, and spirit. He described himself as a personal trainer and “life coach”.
The idea of a “life coach” is attractive to many of us. What could we accomplish with a great coach encouraging us from the sidelines of our lives, giving us the next play, teaching us skills and challenging us to grow? We all have had the thought that our lives might be more than they are. The challenge is that there are so many different voices telling us just how our lives can and should be better, so who are we to trust? What does abundant life really look like?
Jesus has some good advice about abundant life. His first words in the Gospel of Mark are, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” What could be more authentically, hopefully, and lovingly abundant than life in the kingdom of God? Jesus teaches us that abundant life comes from trusting in God, giving generously to those in need, forgiving as a way of life, and generally investing ourselves in this communal experience of Christian living. The more love we give, the more love we have. The more we give to those in need, the more care and compassion we offer, the more abundance we experience in our own lives.
The best life coaching I have ever experienced has come from fellow disciples working together, studying scripture together, worshiping together, and praying together. In small group Bible study, in discipleship groups, and in ministry teams, we support one another in living the disciplines and challenges of following Jesus.
Yours in Christ,