Nicholas Sparks is the author of 20 books, all of which have been New York Times bestsellers. He has sold over 105 million copies sold worldwide. Several of his books have been made into films including The Choice, The Longest Ride, The Best of Me, Safe Haven (on all of which he served as a producer), The Lucky One, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John and The Last Song. We talked with Sparks six years ago about his faith and how he views success.
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” Galatians 2:19-21
Sparks opens up on how his faith plays a role in his life and why he feels it is important that his kids have that foundation.
“It plays a central role in my life and it always has. Of course I go to church, but I don’t go to any one particular church – I kind of mix and match. I go to the Catholic Church one week, then the Methodist, and then the Baptist church- I roll around. It kind of depends on where the kids want to go. I think it’s important to keep kids interested…Really it depends what time we wake up on Sunday as to what church we go to…I talk to God every day. A lot of times it’s at a very high volume with lots of cursing. But that is because God is my friend and He forgives [Laughter]. It’s much easier to talk to God about my frustrations about writing then it is to burden my sweet, overworked wife with that stuff. So God gets the brunt of that. Then of course we talk it out, I do most of the talking, if not all. And then you know it influences what I write in my novels. There’s not profanity, and kids don’t engage in premarital sex, and if there is premarital sex it’s within the context of a loving relationship, it’s not just a one-night stand, you know they [the characters] are going to be together forever. Like in The Notebook, it was there, but you knew they’re moving toward being together forever. I don’t write about adultery, so my faith influences all of those things as well.”
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Sparks shares his take on his success and the importance of not taking fame or power too seriously.
“When I get there I’ll let you know what it’s like. It’s always the next thing for me. It’s impossible not to look back on my life and to realize the good fortune I’ve had and the blessings I’ve received. It’s impossible not to realize that my life is different now than it would have been had I now done any of this. But the most important thing to understand about my chosen profession, or anything really in the entertainment field, is that money or fame or power, are simply amplifiers. You become more of the person that you originally were. If you weren’t that nice, you’re not very nice at all; if you were kind of into yourself, you become a total narcissist; if you were a good guy, you become more philanthropic; it’s just an amplifier. And so it’s important not to take any of those things too seriously because they don’t change who you are, it just makes more of it.”
Get plugged in to a church. If you don’t have a home church, pray and ask God to direct you to a church that you can call home. God wants us to be a part of a body of believers that can pray for us, challenge us in our faith, and support us through difficult times. If you have a church that you attend, consider getting more involved by volunteering or serving in a ministry. It can be folding bulletins or singing in the choir. If you haven’t taken a spiritual gifts test, take one to see what your spiritual gifts are and see if there is a place that you can volunteer that utilize your gifts. Remember that no church is perfect.
Be an amplifier for Christ. Rather than get caught up in fame, power and fortune, choose to use your platform to share about Christ with others. Pray and ask God how you can use your time, talent and treasure to bring glory to Him rather than yourself. If the Holy Spirit convicts you about an attitude or an action, confess your sin and ask God to help you change it. There might be some pastors or speakers that you look up to, watch how they amplify Christ in their life.
Leave a legacy. Take time this week to pray and ask God how he wants you to leave your legacy. It can be mentoring someone in their career, counseling the youth, or volunteering your expertise to a ministry. God wants to use each of us and our gifts to help others, we just need to be willing and available.
To read our entire interview with Nicholas Sparks, click here