Lebron James. Michael Jordan. Kobe Bryant. These three names represent what it means to have talent and character in basketball. In today’s world it can be easy to fixate on those with great appearances. We can forget that in order to have great victories, it takes hard work and character above all else. Michael Jordan himself said: “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Even the greatest recognized that talent wasn’t the key to success.
Todd Marinovich was a highly touted football player from the University of Southern California in the late 1980’s. He was undoubtedly one of the most talented prospects at the time. You may not recognize the name today. That is because Marinovich’s career was destroyed by his lack of character that led him to fall victim to substance abuse. Character means everything.
Samson was a person in the Bible that had a tremendous amount of talent. He was so strong that he killed one thousand men with the jawbone from a donkey! However, though he was physically strong, he lacked internal strength. When he faced temptation with his girlfriend, Delilah, his true character was revealed.
Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap, and then she called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. In this way she began to bring him down, and his strength left him. Then she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the Lord had left him.
Samson chose to sin and feel good rather than making the choice to be faithful. God has given us all talent in some form. These talents can take many forms, such as athleticism or brilliance. While these are some of the talents that people tend to receive the most praise for, all other talents are just as valuable to building God’s kingdom. What is important is allowing God to develop our talents in order to become the men and women He wants us to be. To do this takes character.
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
1 Corinthians 15:33
Part of building character takes surrounding ourselves with those who also want to do good. Character is largely influenced by who we decide to make our best friends. Those who decide to build right will surround themselves with people who will push them to grow in their relationship with God. Surrounding ourselves with company not interested in growth will hurt our character.
Questions to Reflect:
- What talents has God given you that can be developed by building character?
- What sins do you to go to rather than choosing to be faithful to God and build character?
- Who is your company? What influence are they having on your character?