A Masterly Touch

Jim Furyk has long been known for his quirky golf swing and his cross-handed putting stroke—oddities that he has leveraged for a tremendous PGA Tour career. Then, a few weeks ago, Furyk became known for an alarm that didn’t go off, causing him to be disqualified from the opening event of the PGA Tour playoffs at the Barclays. Instead of becoming discouraged, Furyk pressed on, and yesterday won the 2010 FedEx Cup by winning the Tour Championship. By winning both events, he recorded the largest payday in golf history—banking a total of $11,350,000. What makes it so ironic is that, in a sport where the players’ equipment costs in the thousands of dollars, Furyk’s final stroke of the playoffs was made with a $39 putter he picked up a few weeks ago at a golf shop. Amazing—perhaps the cheapest putter on tour was the instrument for winning golf’s richest prize.

There is no doubt that equipment matters, and that better equipment can help almost anyone play better. But you still have to have talent. I guarantee you that Furyk’s $39 putter is a different instrument in his hands than in mine, or in the hands of most of us. Even the poorest equipment can be tremendous in the hands of a master. The skill of the artist is infinitely more important than the value of the equipment.

This speaks loudly to me of how we view our own abilities. Whether they are great or small, they are best used when taken out of our hands and placed in the hands of the Master. In God’s hands, even the most humble instrument can have powerful impact. It was perhaps this idea that caused Simon Peter to write:

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time…” (1 Peter 5:6)

In His hands, the most humble of us can be useful to Him and bring Him honor. Peter should know. He was not a precision instrument by any means—yet in the hands of the Creator the fisherman from Galilee had unbelievable impact on his generation. Why? Because he was willing to yield himself to God, and let God do His work. When we try to do things for Christ by trusting in our own strength and ability, we are likely to fail. But, in the mighty hands of the Master, anything is possible.

Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain