There are two topics one is supposed to avoid, so says etiquette experts, in a casual conversation: religion and politics. Here in South Carolina, there is another topic that holds the power to polarize - college football, specifically whether you side with one of the teams in one of our countries most historic rivalries. I'm speaking of course of the competition between University of South Carolina and Clemson University.
At the risk of alienating a certain percentage of my readership, I offer this disclaimer. This column will be about a quote offered by the head coach of the current National Champions of college football. I hope those vehemently opposed to Clemson's program will be able to separate themselves from their distaste for the team to see the nugget of spiritual wisdom offered up by Clemson University head coach Dabo Swinney.
Swinney took to the stage on his team's field of victory and delivered a statement that had all the cadence of a sermon.
"I talked to them about letting the light inside of them always be brighter than the light that's shining on them!" he told the record crowd.
There in the national spotlight with thousands upon thousands ready to help praise on the team's athletic prowess and Swinney's coaching acumen, he redirected the spotlight to a higher power.
I don't like to assign intention to another's words, but Swinney's statement certainly made me recall a verse in Scripture that advocates a similar position.
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matt. 5:16, NIV)
When the spotlight is on you, believer, redirect it to the source of your success. Point to the one who imbued you with the gifts and talents that brought you to that milestone. Give credit where credit is due because stripped of the abilities you have and the circumstances tailored to your life, you have no claim to your accomplishments.
It is one thing to God during tragedy, embarrassment and sorrow, but another thing entirely to cry out to God in the times of elation, contentment and victory. It's an important reminder that, even in times of personal success, we acknowledge the hand of our Almighty God.
You, like me, have experienced the spotlight at some point. You've worked hard and sacrificed, and it paid off. You, also like me, probably found it very easy to shoulder the mantle of praise willingly offered to you by others. You, like me, have often forgotten to redirect the spotlight to the light shining in you - the light given to you by God.
My prayer is the warmth and brilliance of the light within you, believer, will always outshine any spotlight this world offers.
Contact Jamie H. Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.