Glorify God Through Success

Glorify God Through Success

In the movie Woodawn, black high school running back, Tony Nathan, is encouraged to use his gifts for God. The sports chaplain tells him that it may be God’s plan for him to be a star. His coach takes notice of him, and gives him a chance to play a starting position at which he excels, thrusting him into the limelight. When he feels down because of the obstacles and difficulties he encounters, he is reminded by several people that he has encouraged and given hope to those around him by what he’s been accomplishing. As a matter of fact, the pastor of his church acknowledges in front of the entire congregation that he’s glorifying God by using his ability in football, and applauds him for it.

Sometimes Christians can have this mindset that you can’t desire or strive for success and truly be following God the way you should at the same time – almost like if you’re successful, you mustn’t really be on the path that God has for you. There’s this mentality that if you happen to have a lot of money, are in a career that puts you in the limelight, or really, really succeeding, you’re somehow less of a believer. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth!

God actually WANTS his people to succeed! He desires to lead and guide them, setting them up for success. He promises that if we delight in His Word, EVERYTHING we do will prosper (Ps 1:2-3). Psalm 45:12 declares that people of wealth will seek our favor. Isaiah 60:3&5 say that nations will be drawn to God’s light shining through us, and that the wealth of nations will come to us. Does this sound like God is against you succeeding?

Oftentimes, success can actually open up a greater platform for God’s people to share Him with the world. Those who have an abundance of money have an increased opportunity to bless others financially. If someone is well-known, as long as they stick with God instead of getting caught up in the fame, they are just in a more visible position to tell others about their faith. When believers experience success, and unbelievers ask how they achieved it, they have the chance to point them to the God who is responsible for it!

Obviously not everyone is famous or a billionaire, but God does desire for His people to live a prosperous, successful life in every area – to have successful godly relationships, to have all that they need and more in their finances, to do well in the career path He has for them, and to prosper in every other arena of their lives.

It saddens me when people think they need to choose between God and success. Just like Tony Nathan was able to glorify God through his success, pointing others to Him with the platform he’d been given, God wants us to prosper, and glorify him through that prosperity. Commit your life to the Lord, with the determination to stick close to Him even in the midst of success, and discover the amazing things He has in store for you!

You Have Been Gifted by God

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In Woodlawn, sports chaplain Hank sees potential in black running back, Tony Nathan. He tells Tony that he has a gift, and he needs to decide what he’s going to do with it. He says that if Tony plays for himself, he could be great, but that if he chooses to play for something higher, that’s when the extraordinary happens. He further states that God has a plan for everyone, and though he doesn’t know what God’s plan is for Tony, he thinks it is for him to be a star. Tony is skeptical, stating that there’s no such thing as a black superstar – at least not in Alabama. However, Coach Gerelds begins to notice him, and puts him in instead of the white player that had been filling his position. Tony Nathan excelled in his new position as running back, and ended up in fact becoming the star of the team!

Tony Nathan had been gifted by God as a running back. As he used the gift he had been given, he gave people hope, and brought glory to God. God has given each of us gifts and abilities, as well. Because each of us are unique, our talents and abilities are also unique. You might not be as gifted as someone you know in a certain area, but you are probably gifted in an area that they’re not. God wants us to use our talents for Him. As we do so, God will use us to bring Him glory, and share His love and grace with those around us!

As Tony began to use his ability as a running back and gain recognition for it, he encountered opposition from a variety of sources. White people didn’t like it that a black player had replaced a white player, and was the one who was in the limelight. Some black people didn’t like it that he was spending so much time with white people. As a matter of fact, someone threw a rock through a window of the house he lived in, with a note attached telling him to quit football, as well as burning a jersey with his number on it. Through it all, he persevered. He didn’t let opposition prevent him from following the path God had for him.

Just like Tony Nathan, sometimes when you’re using your talents and doing what God has called you to do, you’ll encounter opposition. There will be people who will say you’re too young, too old, not good enough, come from the wrong background, or pose some other objection. You might face a few speed bumps along the way. If this happens, just remember that God is on your side, and He’s got your back. Don’t let opposition keep you from doing what He’s called you to do!

God has a plan for your life. He’s gifted you in incredible ways. Use those talents for Him. Don’t let opposition stop you from following that path that He has for you!