There is a road in England where more sporting stars have been created than any other. It’s called Silverdale Road. If talent alone had been the key, there would be no Silverdale Road. Dave Gilpin pulls out all the stops to investigate the truth behind the headlines. His conclusion is confronting – all of us live on a road called Silverdale! Dave challenges us to open our eyes to both the obvious and the unobvious opportunities that lie before us all.

If you were to track back in time to Florence in Italy in 1466 and look through the window of an Art Studio, you’d see a 14 year old called Leonardo da Vinci nervously seated on the first day of his apprenticeship that went on to launch the career of a genius. His painting ‘Saviour of the World’ recently sold for over 450 million USD – the most expensive painting in history.

If you could time travel forwards to 1946 and board a train in the Himalayans heading to Darjeeling you’d see a nun called Teresa who was working as a school teacher. You’d notice her eyes widening as she received a revelation from God to go to the poorest of the poor and surrender her life to it. She ended up in the slums of Calcutta, yet smack bang in the centre of God’s will for her life.

If we took a trip over the Indian and Atlantic oceans to San Francisco in 1986 we’d find Steve Jobs, recently sack from Apple, signing a deal to buy the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm for 10 million dollars. He sold it 20 years later as Pixar Animations Studios for 7.4 billion dollars.

None of these people quite knew the magnitude of the decisions they were making.

When Naomi found herself gleaning from a field belonging to a rich benefactor called Boaz, she had no clue as to the intense destiny locked up within her circumstance. The bible vastly, yet cheekily underplays it by saying;

‘As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz.’ – Ruth 2:3

Her poverty had led her there. Her diligence had placed her in the field. Because of it, her future became secure. She married Boaz and became the great, great grandmother of King David. She went from rags to riches not by replacing her rags, but by owning them.

She became the right person, in the right place, at the right time, with the right ‘providence’ in her life. The poverty became her asset and her disability became her launch pad. She had the choice to run and hide or to optimise her circumstances. She optimised, not minimised. And so should we.

In 2005, Steve Jobs gave an open-air address at Stanford University. He said;

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

You are a custodian of an unusual set of divine circumstances. Calling your history ‘divine’ can be the start of you seeing that what God has allowed to happen in your life is now a servant in the hands of God – ready to serve your future and your breakthrough.

The Message Bible says this:

“God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son…” – Colossians 1:13 

Your life is currently a set-up – a stitch up from heaven. Naomi was stitched up. Esther was stitched up. Joseph was set up. F

Your advantages, your disadvantages, your abilities, your disabilities, your silver spoon and your lack of even the spoon are all working together for the future good of those who love God and maximise their God given opportunities.

The bible doesn’t say that ‘some things are working together for good’ and it doesn’t say ‘most things’ are working together for good. It clearly states that:

“All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Instead of rejecting your lack and blaming your past for your misfortune, it is time to start to celebrate. It’s a stitch up from heaven. You are currently on the field of Boaz.

The Cult of Talent

We think that most people who succeed in life do so because of talent. Yet the Bible begs to differ. It states:

“The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favour to the learned; BUT TIME AND CHANCE HAPPEN TO THEM ALL!” – Ecclesiastes 9:11

It’s not talent or intellect or wisdom that sets us apart – It’s those who make the most of their God given opportunities. Those who have faith for their field make way for Gods favour in their life.

Matthew Syed – Three time Commonwealth Games Champion

Mathew Syed was 3 times Commonwealth Games table tennis champion. He used to think that it was a mixture of pure talent and hard work that got him to the top of his game – until he realised that he was a custodian of an unusual set of circumstances. Five to be precise:
1. When he was 8 his parent bought a full sized tournament table tennis table. 2. His parents garage could fit a full sized tournament table tennis table. 3. He had a slightly older brother he could dual with as a young boy. 4. The sports teacher of his primary school was the nations’ top coach for table tennis. 5. There was a table tennis club near his home open 24 hours a day.

He lived at 199 Silverdale Road. Mathew Syed went on to win 3 national tennis titles. At 274 Karen Witt won commonwealth gold. At 149, Andy Wellman was a hugely successful doubles player. At the bottom of the street, Paul Trott was a leading junior. Around the corner, Jimmy Stokes was English junior Champion and Alison Gordon was four times English Senior Champion

Talent wasn’t the culprit. It was opportunity. And that’s what you have right now – a field of opportunity. You live on your very own Silverdale Road.

You may never become ‘important’ in the eyes of the world, but you are each born to be significant in His plans and purposes.

You may be a custodian of a simple table tennis bat – like a little boy’s lunch of 5 loaves and 3 fish. You may think your ‘disadvantage’ takes you away from your field belonging to Boaz, yet nothing could be further from the truth.

What God can do when you decide that you really are the right person, in the right place at the right time with the right providence and the right God can be the thing that flicks the switch between being a deliverer like Esther or being just plain hard done by like Esau.

Surely, you too have been ‘called to the kingdom for such a time as this!’ (Esther 4:14). Let the spirit of Esther as well as Naomi rest upon you today and upon your eyes to see the fields of gold and streets of silver that surround you.

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