#Blessed. My concern is the wrong meaning which appears to be attributed to the word blessed. There is nothing wrong with paying tribute to the gifts which God has provided each of us and being thankful for the advantages we have living in the United States or having strong family support or a host of other good fortunes. My concern is the use of the term as it relates to individual talent and the success from that "God given talent". There appears to be a belief that the success an individual has is from being "#Blessed" where biblical blessings are bestowed absent other factors. The thought process is the blessings of success are more a by-product of societal advantages, or born attributes than factors like wise judgement and a strong work ethic.
To make my case for why success extends far beyond God given talent lets investigate a phenomenal athlete and leader Senator Bill Bradley. Bill was often called "blessed" because he was able to achieve heights in both politics and sports. He was a high school basketball player who had over 75 college scholarship offers but chose to go to Princeton where scholarships were not available. He would go on to become the NCAA player of the year his Senior year at Princeton and lead his team to three consecutive Ivy League Championships (the farthest his team could go back then). He was drafted in the first round but chose to take off two years to pursue a Rhodes Scholarship. He returned to play in the NBA and eventually win two NBA titles and become a first ballot Hall of Fame player. He then went on to be a three term US Senator. For all these accomplishments, writers of his day pointed to his advantages and natural gifts of intelligence and athleticism.
So, how about the rest of the story. The one which the writers, fans, opponents and teammates never saw. Bradley had only one advantage. He was born tall. He was also born with an average IQ, slow, not strong and with vision impairments. However, he did posses the one skill we all have if we chose to use it... GRIT! He was determined to go to an Ivy League school and on a basketball scholarship. So, he set out at the age of 14 to make this happen. He would practice basketball four hours every school day and 8 hours on non-school days. He would study 7 hours a day when he was not in class and read everything he could get his hands on. He was so obsessive with his regime that his parent forced him to go on a four week cruise thinking there was no way he could not take a break (there was no basket on the ship). He proceeded to find in the bottom of the ship a 900 foot long 3 foot wide hallway to practice dribbling in tight spaces which he did over 8 hours a day the entire trip. He designed special glasses that required him to use his peripheral vision so as to overcome his weak eyes. The list of methods he used to better himself is exhaustive and all before the age of 18.
I don't have enough time to go through want Senator Bradley did to make himself #blessed with natural ability. The fact is this story is the same for Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Madonna, etc. The majority of the people we admire at the top of their professions were #blessed through grit and determination. Yes they had some level of God given ability but it was not the modicum of talent they possessed but what they did to enhance it. As Christians, we are all blessed to have Jesus as our savior who came and took away our sins so that we might be able to live life fully. However, God does not call us to simply be saved (aka.. #blessed). Instead, we are called to magnify his blessing through evangelical outreach, tending to the needs of others and loving those who would persecute us. In James 2:18 it is written, "But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works."
As Christians, we know that faith without works is dead. Let us commit ourselves to displaying our faith through our works. Let us never forget the grit which is required when representing God. We need to dedicate ourselves through, biblical study, prayer and genuflection so we can prepare ourselves to be a force for God in our lives and the lives of others. Like Senator Bradley, we are #blessed with spiritual height; however, God has left it up to us as to how much grit we want to apply.