Golf and Grace

      "From the fullness of his grace we have all received one
blessing after another," (John 1:16).

      My tee time tomorrow morning is at 8:00 a.m. I will take my
place with millions of other men and women who, on the tee boxes of the
world, regularly or irregularly commit golf.

      Paul Harvey says, "Golf is a game in which you yell 'fore,'
shoot six, and write down five." Billy Graham groaned, "The only time my
prayers are never answered is on the golf course." President Woodrow
Wilson observed, "Golf is a game in which one endeavors to control a
ball with implements ill adapted for the purpose."

      Golf is so frustrating, and interesting, because it has
defied perfecting. As far as I know, no one has ever played a "perfect"
round of golf . eighteen straight holes-in-one. But we keep trying, and
trying, and trying. Head down, back straight, knees bent, left arm
straight . oh give me a break!

      And we need a little help from our friends. So sometimes
golfers will agree to give one another a "mulligan." ("Mulligan" is
Scottish for "do-over," I think???) A mulligan is a grace. When you hit
it bad the first time, you get a chance to tee it up again without the
first one counting.

      When I'm keeping score I don't believe in recording
anything more than a triple-bogey. ("Triple-bogey" is Scottish for "bent
putter.") I never like to see grown men cry, or to hear them cuss. So
I've determined one way to minimize both is to say, "When you're in my
foursome, we live by grace and not by law. Nothing higher than a
triple-bogey will be recorded."

      Note: Please do not forward this to U.S. Golf Association.
My membership will be revoked for not playing by the rules.

      One of the reasons I love golf so much is that it parallels
life in so many ways . particularly when it comes to the need for grace.
We all have a mis-hit in life from time to time. We try our hardest to
remember all the skills ("Love God with all of your heart, soul and
mind; love your neighbor as yourself."), but it's impossible to keep
them all straight. So we walk through life feeling miserable because we
couldn't perform well enough. We need another chance . and God's grace
provides it.

      God knows we're sinners. We can't keep the rules in our own
power. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to show us how to play the game of
life well. He died on the Cross to purchase the pardon for our sins, and
then, when we are saved, He climbs into our skin and lives His life
through us. What grace!

      Grace, by its very definition means to grant someone
something they don't deserve. In Christ, we hear God say, "Go ahead,
take a mulligan. You get another chance." And that grace is to be shown
to others as well. Everyone needs it, including your mate, your
children, your co-workers, and your waitress.

      Well, my golf bag and shoes are loaded in the back of my
car. I look forward to hitting the links tomorrow, and maybe being able
to score a few pars. ("Par" is Scottish for "I'm lying, but mark it down





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