You see it all the time. People achieve success, and then their personal lives seem to fall apart. As someone once said, success has made failures of many men. But does that have to happen?
The September 1996 issue of Standing Firm magazine contains a great story about Bobby Bowden. Bowden is head football coach for Florida State University. His team’s winning record places him near the top in wins among active coaches at the Division I level. Bowden’s record of successes in bowl games is the highest winning percentage in NCAA history. So he is successful in his chosen career. Whether you are a fan of F.S.U. or not, you have to admit that Bowden is a successful coach.
But there is more to Bowden than the statistics you read in the sports pages. He is a man of faith and makes no apologies for that. During his team’s Friday evening meetings before their Saturday games, Bowden uses valuable time for team devotionals, which he leads. As for his ongoing leadership of the team’s staff, each day he meets with his staff for devotions and prayer prior to their regular staff meetings.
Each year, Bowden takes his entire team to a predominantly black church for worship. The following Sunday, he takes the team to a predominantly white church. There is no deception involved–he writes a letter to each athlete’s parents or guardian to tell them about the church visits and obtain their approval. “I’m trying to show these kids that they are accepted in church whether they are white or black,” Bowden said.
So what is the point of this and the many other ways Bowden walks his walk of faith? Bowden says, “I want to show these kids that you can be a Christian, you can be a God-fearing man, you can abide by the rules, and you can still be successful.”
How Does This Apply to Our Lives?
A number of social commentators have asked the questions, “Where are our heroes?” and “Where are the role models for today’s youth?” That is because we constantly read about people who were considered heroes, but turned out to be villains who compromised their values and broke the rules.
Is it necessary to compromise your values to make it in life? Bowden’s story shows that it is not. No, Bowden is not perfect. But there is a core to his life. Bowden stands firm in his beliefs–and is successful. What is the difference between the Bobby Bowdens of the world, and others? Simply put, some people are like onions. They have no core, just layers. And when you peel away all the layers, nothing is left. Don’t glorify the “onions” of the world. Instead, lift up people like Bowden–men and women with a core to their lives, who exhibit integrity and faith. Help them touch others. Encourage them. Pray for them.
Finally, build and strengthen your own core. Start by placing your trust and confidence totally in God. Trusting in God does not guarantee you worldly success or great riches, but the Bible teaches that something far more important will result, blessings from God.
By Rich McLawhorn
Meditation: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.” – Job 17:9
You will succeed in Jesus Name!