by Tony Stoltzfus
Why do the people you coach want to live their dreams? When you ask this question, people say things like, ‘Because I was made to do this,’ or ‘This is what I’ve always wanted to do,’ or ‘I feel like God called me to do this task.’
So what was Jesus motive for doing his destiny? ‘For the joy set before him he endured the cross…’ He’s doing it for heaven. (By the way, Jesus destiny is not to go to the cross, it’s to draw all of us to himself and adopt us into his family in heaven—and enjoy that forever.)
Heaven is a big missing piece in how we do destiny. We talk about the rewards in this life (‘Live Your Best Life Now!), but very few people I’ve ever met have any picture of doing what they do for the sake of what will happen in heaven.
Let me give you a few examples. I recently had the chance to help a homeless woman with three young children (two autistic) whose car had broken down and was living in a parking lot. She was a Christian, but was kind of reticent when we offered to fix her car. So with a big smile on my face, I said to her, ‘The bible says if I do something for you I am doing it for Jesus—and you have given me the beautiful opportunity to fix Jesus’ car! I would be so honored if you would let me do this for you and for him.”
I love giving free coaching to people who are really needy but can’t really afford me. Obviously, there are limits on this. But when a friend I’ve offered to coach for free says, ‘can I pay you for this?’ I say, ‘No, I’ll take my reward in heaven. Scripture says if I serve a prophet I get a prophet’s reward—so if you let me coach you without paying, I get share in the reward of everything you do in your life. I’m much better off coaching you for free than I am letting you pay.” The fact that I actually believe that and have a real picture of what that will look like in heaven lets me do it with a genuine sense of gain and not loss.
I passed on the ministry I started a year ago after investing 10 years of my life into it. I’m going through the usual founder’s blues—are they going to ruin it, oh I don’t like this thing they are doing, oh, Joe and Sally are having a conflict and maybe Joe will leave. It’s hard to let go of your life’s work. I felt like God said something to me a couple weeks ago that was really helpful—that my legacy was what I had done when I led it, not what others will do with it—and that was enough for him. It freed me from agonizing over what was happening on earth and let me enter into the joy of the reward for the completed task in heaven.
My wife and I have this little game we play: “There’s no ___ in heaven.” On days when our time is taken up in admin tasks: there are no meetings in heaven. On days when we can’t go outside because it’s too cold: its always the perfect temperature in heaven. There are no mosquitos in heaven. There is no money: everything there is free. There is no miscommunication in heaven. The game helps us cultivate an awareness of our ultimate destiny in heaven.
One thing we as coaches haven’t even started to plumb is—you have a destiny in heaven! Your life here is preparing you for an actual role you’ll play in the eternal kingdom. We aren’t just going to spend eternity lying on a celestial coach getting fat while angels fan us and feed us grapes. Your calling here is just a shadow, a training run for the real event in eternity.
So two things you can do. First, if you want to cultivate this awareness of heaven with your clients, you’ll first have to cultivate it in yourself. So try playing the heaven game like my wife and I. Start asking Jesus, “what’s one thing I’m going to experience in heaven that I haven’t thought of?” or “Show me a piece of what my destiny in heaven will be.” Read some Christian books of people that have had near death experiences and returned to give us hints of what it was like.
A second thing is to ask your clients to envision and internalize heaven’s perspective on your destiny: ‘Imagine yourself standing before Jesus, and you hand him your life—what you’ve done with it, who you’ve become, and what you’ve accomplished. As you place it in his hands, he looks back at you. What expression is on his face? What does he say to you? How is heaven celebrating you in that moment on heaven’s stage.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tony Stoltzfus has been a coach and coach trainer for over 20 years. He’s founded or co-founded three major coach training organizations, trained over 1000 coaches in multiple countries and developed dozens of training courses. A prolific author, he’s published a dozen books on coaching and leadership that have sold over 250,000 copies, including the best-selling Coaching Questions. His books and training materials have been translated into multiple languages. Tony specializes in coaching hundreds of ‘senior leadership in painful transitions’, developing biblically-based coaching methods and integrating conversations with Jesus into the coaching dialog with his innovative Questions for Jesus approach. In 2021 Tony passed on his training business (Leadership MetaFormation, www.meta-formation.com) as well as his coaching bookstore at www.Coach22.com to two of his trainers. He is currently working on a coaching-based Bible study curriculum called How to Read the Bible Like a Human Being that teaches how to study scripture to engage the emotional brain. Tony enjoys reading, photography, watching silly Youtube videos, and woodworking as hobbies, and lives with his wife Kathy in Redding, CA.