John Ed Mathison headshot

How do you determine who wins in sports? If you look through human glasses, you count the number of points scored. If you look through God’s glasses, you count the number of people served.

    Monty Williams was named Head Coach of the Phoenix Suns in 2019. A reporter asked him about his philosophy of coaching. Coach Williams said, “The essence of my coaching is to serve God as a believer in Christ. That’s what I’m here for.”

    The reporter pressed him because he is a tough disciplinarian, but his players love him. He was asked how he balanced the roles of mentor and taskmaster. He said, “I tell my players, ‘If I get on you, I’m not calling you out, I’m calling you up. You have potential, and I have to work my tail off to help you reach that potential.’”

    That’s a great way to approach coaching, parenting, and leadership. The purpose of “getting on a person” is not to tear them down, but to help them improve as a person. Leaders know how to do that. People who excel know how to receive that kind of coaching.

    Coach Williams suffered a horrific event in 2016 when his wife, Ingrid, 44 years old, was killed in a head-on car wreck in Oklahoma. She left behind five children, ages five to seventeen. The driver responsible for the accident crossed several lanes to hit Ingrid’s car head-on. It was discovered that the driver had methamphetamines in her system.

    Monty Williams insisted that he and his family would focus on the family of the girl who was responsible for his wife’s death. He and his kids would be praying for that family. Williams said, “We have no ill will towards that family. In my house, we have a sign that says, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’  We cannot serve the Lord if we do not have a heart for forgiveness.”

    Williams was very honest and said that he didn’t understand the tragedy that occurred with his wife’s death, but he did want people to understand that Romans 8:28 is true. He’s not questioning God’s love, but instead, he wants everybody to know that God can always see us through everything that we face.

    Coach Williams’s style of coaching made a difference in the NBA in 2021. He inherited a team whose record was 19 wins and 63 loses and never won a championship. He did lead them to the NBA finals this year where they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks, 4 games to 2.

    Coach Williams believes that counting the people served is far more important than counting the number of points scored. He exhibited the capacity to do both! He is a real winner!

    What’s the score in your game of life? What are you counting? Are you winning?