There are a lot of reasons I love golf (not the least of which is that, at my age, I can still play a little bit). But perhaps what I love the most is that it is a game that mixes competitiveness and civility—and both were on display at the Presidents Cup competition in San Francisco this past weekend. On Thursday, there was the appearance of both courtesy and concern. When a cell phone continued ringing during a putt attempt by Geoff Ogilvey of the International team, the Americans he was competing against were disturbed by the lack of etiquette from the gallery and actually apologized for the incident—even though it gave them an edge. Then, on Saturday, there was an equal measure of intensity and humor, as Y. E. Yang laughed and smiled his way through his afternoon session with Ryo Ishikawa against Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. Though under the gun early and often, Yang showed the heart of a competitor without losing the joy of the game. I love that.
As I watched Yang displaying such pleasure at competing against the best, I couldn’t help but wonder about my own heart. I have the privilege of serving Christ and seeking to impact others with His message. What an exciting thing! But, how often do I find myself serving out of duty—absent of joy and passion? Probably too often, to be candid. But it is my desire to serve with a heart filled with joy, and I trust it is your desire as well. The apostle Jude reminds us, however, that we are dependent upon our God even for this joy.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)
He is the One who can keep us from stumbling. He is the One who will cause us to stand in His presence. And, yes, He is the One who not only makes us blameless (when we have plenty for which to be blamed) and give us great joy. Not just joy—great joy. I hope that when, in the service of Christ, I am “in the game” the joy of the privilege is clearly seen.
Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain