I’ve been a basketball fan for a while now and when you think of great and successful players in the NBA, if you’ve been watching basketball for a while, you won’t just think of Michael Jordan or LeBron James but you’ll think of great names like Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Reggie Miller, Dominique Wilkins even Dikembe Mutumbo but if you know anything about basketball and you start thinking about successful players you probably wouldn’t think about putting the name “Luke Walton” on your list. Luke Walton the son of NBA hall of famer Bill Walton who unfortunately never quite lived up to his father’s reputation as a player. Luke never demonstrated the skill, talent and prowess of some of the NBA’s greatest players, he has never been a NBA All-star, never one an NBA scoring title or been made the league MVP but in spite of all of that Luke Walton has THREE NBA CHAMPIONSHIP RINGS.

Three more rings than, Charles Barkley, three more than Karl Malone, three more than Reggie Miller, three more than Dominique Wilkins and Dikembe Mutumbo and even ONE MORE than LeBron James. But for those of you who watch and pay attention to basketball, you would think it strange if you heard Luke Walton, even with his three championship rings, begin to compare himself to the likes of Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller because if you know ANYTHING about Luke Walton then you know that even though Luke is a three-time champion, you’ll recognize that he has been able to win those championships, twice as a player with the L.A. Lakers and once as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors, NOT because of his skills as a player and not even because of his leadership as a coach but he has been able to win THREE TIMES simply because he was a part of THE RIGHT TEAM!

And as believers in God how many times have we forgotten that our victories in life are not a result of our own efforts and goodness but they come to us as result of us being on God’s team. As the year 2016 draws to a close I pray that God will bless us with victories and success but I also pray that as we obtain those victories and successes we remember that they have come not as a result of our skills, our connections or our efforts but I pray that we remember that they have come to us because God has graciously allowed us to become a part of His team.

This should be good news for us because that puts the burden of victory on God and not on us. Because we are on God’s team, God is responsible for making sure that we get the victory. That means that we can free ourselves from the pressure of trying to figure out how things are going to work in the upcoming year and we can be relieved from the stress of trying to perform and impress others because our victory and our success is not based on us but it is based on God. Does this mean that we do not have to work? Or that we don’t have to expend any effort in 2017? Certainly not! What it does mean is that as we set out into 2017 and we seek to do whatever it is that God has called us to do, we do it with the knowledge that our success is guaranteed as long as we remain on God’s team and not our own. Seeking His glory, His fame, His praise and not our own.

I pray that 2017 be the year that you praise God because He allowed you to be on “The Winning Side.”

Grace and Peace

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