"We hold to the philosophy that our defense will dictate how many games

we win. Our offense will dictate how much we win the games by," Lute

Olsen, former basketball coach at the University of Arizona, told me

years ago.

Those are wise words in athletics and in life.

When LaVell Edwards coached the Brigham Young University football team

to many successful seasons, the team was acclaimed for its explosive

offense. But Edwards said it was the defense that brought the

consistent winning seasons.

Sidney Harris, in his newspaper column, once wrote of world-class

chess. He said many more games are lost by the loser than won by the


The same is true in business. Most companies don't fail for lack of

"offense" — that is to say innovation, expansion, experimentation. Many

more fail for lack of effective "defense" — husbanding and managing

their capital, keeping their present customers happy, guarding against

downturns in the business cycle.

The same holds true in our lives. We need constant defense against the

forces that would weaken our will to do right things. Then when

opportunities come to serve well and reap the attendant blessings, we

will be ready.If we let our guard down, thinking we will make a spectacular surge

someday and overcome the deficits of our weak defense, we will be

disappointed. No team and no person consistently wins that way.

Jesus spoke of a man who did not guard and defend his treasures at all

times. He was surprised and unprepared when a thief came by night and

robbed him.

Wiser was the Psalmist who said: " ... the Lord is our defense; and the Holy one of Israel is our king" (Psalms 89:18).

Duane E. Hiatt is the former director of communications for the

Division of Continuing Education at Brigham Young University. He has

been a writer of "The Spoken Word" for broadcasts of the Mormon

Tabernacle Choir, is the author of the book "Overcoming Personal Loss"

and composer of the Primary song "Follow the Prophet."