Help for Those Who Need It

When things are not going well for a sports team (football, baseball, basketball, hockey, etc.), a captain or other key player may call a “players-only meeting.” The players on the team get together, with no coaches or other staff members allowed in the room. They express their thoughts and feelings freely, and attempt to figure out how to improve the teams play and performance. The media often treats such a meeting as a possible watershed moment of the season, yet what is the real value of these players-only meetings?

A few years ago, the Michigan State men’s basketball team held a players-only meeting. Tom Izzo, the Spartans’ renowned coach (who, of course, was barred from the meeting), was asked what impact it might have on the Spartans’ success moving forward. “Players-only meetings,” he said, “are the most useless thing in sports.” Izzo’s opinion is seconded by veteran sportswriter Woody Paige who said, “Of course players-only meetings are useless! The players think they’re going to solve the problem, but the problem is them!”

Indeed, it seems to make little sense that players exclude from their problem-solving meeting the people who are paid specifically to solve their problems—their coaches.  Coaches are paid to be dispassionate observers who focus not on individual agendas, but on helping the team win the game. Players often need advice from the outside to help them accurately evaluate and solve the problems they are facing.

Yet, the thinking behind a players-only meeting is one many of us sometimes share: “I have a problem, and I am going to solve it. I don’t need help from anyone else.”  However, often our lack of insight and understanding is what got us into the mess. This makes it very unlikely we will be able to figure out how to get out of the mess, unless we get help from outside ourselves.
Yet, seeking or even accepting help is something that many folks are unwilling to do. Because of our pride, we often embrace the myth of “self-sufficiency,” believing that the resources we possess or have within ourselves will enable us to meet any need we have and overcome any obstacle we may face. We want other people to think we are intelligent, capable, and strong enough to deal whatever challenges life may bring.

The reality, however is that we all sometimes have problems which we are incapable of solving. Though we seldom like to admit it, we all need help from outside ourselves. The good news is that God is always willing to provide that help. Through the Bible, He reveals truth and wisdom that enable us to find significance and joy in life.  Through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, God grants eternal salvation which none of us could ever earn or obtain on our own. That salvation includes an experience of forgiveness and freedom from guilt for which we long. It also includes a solid hope in the face of death that cannot be found anywhere else. Through the Holy Spirit, we are given comfort and peace in life’s most difficult situations.

Friend, when things are not going well in your life don’t call a “players-only meeting.” Turn to the Lord, trust in Him, and receive the help and hope which only He can provide. As Hebrews 4:16 says, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
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Dan Erickson