Friday, January 23, 2009

Quiet Strength

I've been reading a great book called Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy. I picked this book up at the library randomly because the spine caught my eye. I suppose really it was the title--Quiet Strength. Now, I'm not a football fanatic...although I do like to watch it and I follow a favorite team or two. He gives a lot of detail about players, games and seasons of football that I didn't exactly follow. On the other hand, he shares so much about his firm, deep faith in God and how his faith affects everything he does. He is sure to point out that he "doesn't have the strength or wisdom to get through a single day without guidance and grace from God." During the good times, he praises God and during the bad times, he does no less. He also points out several times that football head coach is what he does, not who he is. Listen to this:
The competing views of success in our world often create an interesting tension. Society tends to define success in terms of accomplishments and awards, material possessions, and profit margins. In the football business, winning is the only thing that matters.

God's Word, however, presents a different definition of success--one centered on a relationship with Jesus Christ and a love for God that allows us to love and serve others. God gives each one of us unique gifts, abilities and passions. How well we use those qualities to have an impact on the world around us determines how "successful" we really are.

If we get caught up in chasing what the world defines as success, we can use our time and talent to do some great things. We might even become famous. But in the end, what will it mean?

What will people remember us for? Are other people's lives better because we lived? Did we make a difference? Did we use to the fullest the gifts and abilities God gave us? Did we give our best effort, and did we do it for the right reasons?

God's definition of success is really one of significance--the significant difference our lives can make in the lives of others. This significance doesn't show up in the win-loss records, long resumes, or the trophies gathering dust on our mantels. It's found in the hearts and lives of those we've come across who are in some way better because of the way we lived. (Taken from pages 145-146)

I'm so thankful to have read this book. I'm thankful for professional sports players who are sold out to living a life pleasing to God. Dungy's integrity, humility, faith and winning attitudes are a lesson to us all.

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