This is another in the series of reflections which will juxtapose two values which are held by people serving as sport chaplains and character coaches around the world.
Patient vs. Pushy
The tension between being patient or being pushy in my role as a sport chaplain is constant. I regularly wonder if I’m being patient enough with people or if I would simply push a little harder, I might see more immediate results. Am I being too passive with this one? Am I coming close to being manipulative with that one? Should I be patient or pushy? I probably lean toward being more patient after 19 years in this role. Let’s consider some of the aspects of each.
• To be patient is to be respectful of the process God is using in drawing people’s hearts to Himself.
• To be pushy may be to manipulate rather than to trust God’s grace to lead.
• To be patient is to steadily appeal to people to follow Christ Jesus.
• To be pushy is to emotionally appeal to people to love God, now.
• To be patient is to communicate that trusting Christ is very important.
• To be pushy is to communicate that trusting Christ is very urgent.
• To be patient is to trust the Spirit of God.
• To be pushy is to trust one’s evangelistic method.
• To be patient is to affirm the importance of relationships based on trust.
• To be pushy is to affirm the importance of relationships based on compliance.
• To be patient is to focus on long-range results which are hard to quantify.
• To be pushy is to focus on immediate results which are easy to quantify.
I would encourage you to prefer patience to pushiness. Though you may squirm sometimes as you think, “If I just pressed a little harder, he would have prayed…” you’ll not be as likely to alienate those whom you serve. If you patiently wait for the Lord to draw them, He’ll bring them to you at just the right time and the wind of the Spirit will blow through your life and regenerate theirs. Jesus knew this and practiced it with Nicodemus in John chapter 3. Give it a read and then listen for the wind of the Spirit. “So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”