“You’ll Have That Slice Down By The End of The Day…”
There is so much in golf that parallels life, so much in golf that illustrates God’s Truth in the Bible.
I am currently devouring Joe Posnanski’s book “The Secret of Golf: The Story Of Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus.” In it, the author recounts the following anecdote:
“There’s a story about a golf instructor seeing a golfer on a practice range hit wild slice after wild slice. Finally, after watching the man hit ten terrible shots in a row without pausing even for a moment between them, the instructor walked over and asked, ‘Why do you think you’re slicing the ball so much?’ The man shook his head. ‘I have no idea.’ ‘Well then,’ the instructor said. ‘Keep at it. You should have that slice down by the end of the day'” (pp 174-175).
This illustration hit me deeply–how clearly it reflects many 21st century U.S. Christians!
- Many of us never make it TO the practice range–Christianity is simply something that’s done for a couple of hours (at most!) on Sunday! The very idea of practicing Christianity, of training, smells too much like legalism, strikes us as un-romantic and un-spiritual. Just as most people only have time, if they’re lucky, to play one round of golf per week, many Christians only make time to focus on God for an hour or two every seven days.
- Many of us never make it OFF the practice range–we keep accumulating knowledge about God but never learn to be WITH God, never venture out of the boat to walk on the water toward Jesus and follow Him INTO the storms & waves! Like a person religiously studying travel guides but never willing to pay the price, take the time, and risk the danger of actually going to the places in the books…
- And like the golfer in the illustration above, it seems that many of us on the course and the practice range of life simply keep swinging as Christians over and over again without taking time to reflect, without pausing regularly to listen to the Holy Spirit as He whispers to us instruction, encouragement, warning, and discipline for our swings. We forget, or maybe never realize, that God both wants to bring us to heaven AND to transform us on the way there!
And learning to pause, reflect, listen and submit to the Holy Spirit through prayer, worship, and reading the Bible is a big part of the transformation that God offers us; this is a main component of the “full life” that Jesus wants us to have! (John 10:10)
Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”
Or, stop swinging for a while and know that I, God, am your Instructor.
Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me [Jesus], all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Or, come to Me, all you who are exhausted and weary from slicing, hooking, whiffing, topping and hitting your shots thin/fat, and I will give you an eternity of mulligans (in fact, I will offer to play your round FOR YOU so that you can have MY score on your card!)! Stop swinging for a while and learn from Me, take my swing-instruction, for I am a patient, gentle, and humble Teacher Who wants to teach you how to swing like Me, the only Person who has shot an 18 over 18 holes.
1 Peter 5:6-7: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Or, stop swinging for a while and submit your entire game (driving, irons, chipping and putting) under God’s loving but firm hand of correction. Give the LORD permission to overhaul your swing, to break it down so that He can build it up again to withstand the 200+ yard approaches over water that you will face. Give God your shanks, duffs, and snowmen–do all this because He cares deeply for you…
May God help us to invest time regularly
in being with Him (not just doing for Him) (Luke 10:38-42) ,
in listening to His whisper (1 Kings 19:11-13),
in hearing His instruction (Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:29, 3:6, 3:13, 3:22),
in meditating on His counsel daily (18x in the Bible–please click HERE).
If we don’t, we are certain to “perfect” our slices in no time…