Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"Golf's Sacred Journey"--Frank Black


(Frank Black)

Hey, wait a minute; isn’t this supposed to be a write-up for our church?  Not about golf!  You’re right; and no, I haven’t sent this article to the wrong place.  I’ll explain.   

      First, I want to recommend a book, Golf’s Sacred Journey  – by David Cook, PhD – Sports Psychologist.  It came out in 2006 and has since been made into a movie starring Robert Duvall - the movie’s title was changed to, “Seven Days In Utopia”.  The book and movie are about golf, yes; but oh so much more.  It uses golf as a springboard to teaching about life principles – Christian principles.  These are woven into the plot all throughout.  I recommend it strongly.  You’ll be glad you read the book or saw the movie. 

      How many of you play golf – or have attempted to play golf in the past?  Or are you like one of my daughters who thinks golf is as exciting as “watching grass grow”.  But anyway, you all know what the game is.  I’m here to tell you that it’s the most difficult game in the world!  “Now, wait a minute Frank, no way!”  “All you have to do is hit a stationary ball and get it into a hole.”  My answer to that is, “Try it.”  The variables are infinite – like they are in life. But more about that later. 

      You may still be thinking, “That’s fine, but how does this relate to me?”  I’ll list a few of the areas presented in the book and how they relate to a living a Christian life:

·         Learning:  We should be constantly learning!  Never stop.  Age is not a factor in this. 

·         Teaching:  We as Christians should always be looking to teach others – by word and example and more.  The book depicts Robert Duvall as the teacher or mentor [a golf guru] for his younger pupil.  Certainly we adult Christians should look to become teachers and mentors [a guru, if you will] for those with whom we have influence – those younger, the same age, or older.

·         Mistakes:  Golf played by the very best [or worst] is a game of mistakes [bad shots, etc.] and overcoming them.  Now isn’t this an analogy of our very lives!?  - making mistakes or bad decisions and prayerfully, painstakingly, and actively overcoming them. Our Christian lives should be about forgiving, repentance, rebounding, recovery, resilience, perseverance, and more.  [These words and traits just roll off the keyboard but are so very difficult in our real lives.  Let us all pray regularly regarding our areas of weakness and enlist the help of other Christians.]

·         Consistency:  Every golfer [no matter what their level of play] would just love to play with consistency.  Our lives as Christians should also be ones of consistency – we should be viewed the same in the church building, our car, at home, at work, on the golf course, etc.  Are you?

·         Variables:  I mentioned this above.  Everyone reading this can quickly enumerate many variables in your lives in just the last month.  Golf basically has infinite variables [weather conditions, whether the ball is sitting up on the grass or down in the weeds, distance from the hole, hitting up hill or down hill, on and on – I won’t bore you anymore].  Golf and life are about overcoming variables – adjusting, having flexibility, not being stymied by unexpected events or changes, and then moving on with your very best.

·         Enjoy the journey:  Golf is a game.  Enjoy it!  Enjoy being in God’s wonderful creation, being with friends, etc.  Look beyond your mistakes and bad shots.  Life is not a game of course, but the other principles hold true.  Pray for the qualities mentioned; pray to remain positive – to be a mentor – to finish well.



·         Hebrews 13:8  -  Jesus showed CONSISTENCY – He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 

·         I Cor. 9:22 – Paul showed FLEXIBILITY – He became all things to all men……

·         Hebrews 5:12 -  We are told we should be TEACHERS

·         Romans 2:7; James 1:12 – PERSEVERANCE.  There are many scriptures on “perseverance”; therefore, God knew of our human difficulty in sustaining, maintaining, persevering.  Pray to enlist God’s help in your life in order to persevere.

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