One of the sporting world’s most celebrated events, The Masters, occurs this weekend. Usually occurring in the spring when the azaleas are in bloom, this year’s event will have a backdrop of fall foliage. The world’s best golfers will compete over four days for a total prize purse of 11.5 million dollars. The winner gets 2.07 million and the coveted green jacket. Even those who usually have no interest in golf are likely to tune-in at some point this weekend.
Holes 11, 12, and 13 on the course are called Amen Corner. This got me thinking about a few of the spiritual lessons we can glean from golf – and not just the ones relating to “throwing your clubs in the water!”
I have actually seen entire devotional books written with this in mind and although I am not an accomplished golfer, a couple of spiritual lessons stand out to me. New Testament writers used sporting imagery from their day to convey spiritual truth. So, on this Masters weekend, I offer a couple of spiritual insights from the great game of golf.
- Bad things happen when you do not keep your eyes on the ball. That’s true in golf and life. I have a tendency in golf to look up to see how far I hit the ball. The problem is I tend to look up before I hit the ball. As believers, when we fail to keep our eyes on the ball of seeking first God’s kingdom, we soon find ourselves seeking another kingdom. Similarly, when churches fail to keep their eyes on their main mission which includes evangelism, discipleship, and missions, they often find themselves chasing matters of trivial importance.
- It’s the next shot that matters most. In golf and in life, we are going to make some bad shots. What we do after the bad shot is what really counts. On the golf course, I have seen people so upset about a bad shot that they quit in the middle of the round. Unfortunately, I have seen some people give up in life as well. In Christ, we can’t do this. Because of God’s forgiveness, we always get another shot.
In what areas of your life have you taken your eyes off of the ball – off of God’s plans and purposes for you? It doesn’t matter if you’ve landed in the sand, the rough, or even out of bounds, it’s your next shot, your next move, that matters most. When the Psalmist found himself in the rough, or out of bounds, if you will, he discovered this truth – even when he falls, he will not be overwhelmed because the Lord holds his hand, Psalm 37:24 (HCSB)
As long as your next move includes prayerful repentance as needed and a confident request for God’s wisdom, you can rest assured you’ll round “Amen” corner in great position for your next opportunity.