Father’s Day is a special day to many people. Over the past several years, I’ve been fortunate to spend Father’s Day with my dad in the Greater Seattle area. While this year, I wasn’t able to go visit him, I always look forward to our weekly time talking about life, sports, and ministry on the phone.
Ever since my early teens, I’ve had a passion for golf. There’s just something as it’s been said about this game. In high school, I played varsity golf. At this time in my life, much of my identity, value, and worth revolved around how well or poorly I played. Fast forward now to my adult years and golf while still an important part of my life, no longer defines my life.
This weekend golfers are playing at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. Oakmont has hosted the US Open a record nine times, more than any other golf course in US Open history.
In this article, I’ll share five things I’ve learned from playing golf, spending time with my dad, and how that relates to the Christian life.
The Christian Life is About Relationships
Golf for me is all about relationships. I remember vividly going golfing with my dad in my teens and early twenties. Both of my hole in one’s were with my dad. One of them was even on Father’s Day. Golfing with my dad was a time where we connected deeply. Even today, I enjoy playing golf with my friends.
The Christian life is all about relationships. Jesus modeled this for His disciples in His ministry when He choose the Twelve and poured into them for three and a half years. He ministered to the masses but only invested in a few.
Jesus in His ministry was deadly serious about ministering to the broken, the lost, and the marginalized of His day. He was equally focused on investing in the Apostles, men who would lead the Church after His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Christians today would do well to learn from how Jesus viewed relationships and implement this aspect of His teaching into their own relationships with others.
Growing up I always saw my dad working hard. Whether it was as a reserve Army officer for over twenty years or for over thirty-five years as a physical therapist, my dad worked hard. He showed my older brothers and me, the value of hard work.
Golf taught me to work hard. In my teenage years, I spent hundreds of hours practicing my swing, pitching, chipping, and putting. Today I spend countless hours writing, editing, counseling, and ministering to people online and offline. [bctt tweet=”As Christians, we work hard for an audience of One to the glory of God.” username=”servantsofgrace”]
Golf taught me that integrity is a way of life. In golf whether you hit a good or bad shot, it still counts, and at the end of the hole, you need to put the score you earned on your scorecard. The game of golf has lots of rules which govern the game. God has laid out His rules (commandments) for His people in His Word.
In golf if you hit an errant shot you are most likely going to go in the rough, in the water, or deep in the trees. Instead of assessing a penalty against ourselves if we hit a golf ball in a hazard, as Christians, we call errant shots, sin.
The Christian is one who follows the pattern of life Jesus showed His people in His life and ministry in the Gospels. Jesus is both like us and unlike us. We sin but Jesus never sinned. Jesus is fully God and fully man, we are not. Jesus died in our place for our sins so that we could be forgiven of our sins and through His resurrection have new life. Jesus isn’t only the pattern for our lives- He is our Lord, Master, and Commander.
Golf has also taught me patience. It takes years of practice to become good at golf. The Christian life requires patience and waiting on the Lord, a lesson I’m still learning.
Glory to God Alone
The Christian has a greater reward than the winner of the US Open will ever receive. The winner of the US Open will win a 1.8 million dollars and the US Open trophy. He will also be asked to appear on TV shows, in magazines, and other forms of media. The eternal glory the Christian has received in Christ is beyond the jewels and treasure the world can ever offer.
A few years ago, my dad and I played our last round of golf together. After the round, he told me, “I’m not going to play anymore, I don’t practice or play anymore.” This was another special memory with my dad since it was Father’s Day.
Maybe today your dad isn’t around. Perhaps he has abandoned you. The first sixteen years of my life were spent estranged from my dad. These days were filled with a lot of bitterness and resentment against my father. One day I was reading the Lord’s Prayer and got convicted as I read Matthew 6:15. I repented of my sin and the Lord replaced the bitterness and resentment I had with a heart of love for my dad. The next day we went for a walk and the Lord reconciled my dad and me to each other. After this, my dad and I developed a strong and close relationship that remains to this day.
Jesus is in the business of mending broken hearts to Himself. Our God is a faithful and good Father, and the Father of the fatherless. This Sunday whether your dad is still around or he’s passed on, I encourage you to look to Jesus, He is enough for you every day, especially on this Lord’s Day.