Golf and the Pursuit of God

I play golf 3-4 times per year, so everyone tends to understand when I hit the ball poorly. No one learns much about golf from watching me play and I don’t have much to show as a result of my playing…I shoot about a 100 (which for golf it not a good score). I really just enjoy the scenery, the camaraderie and the 3 or 4 good shots I hit during the game.  I don’t make the time to practice as golf is not that high on my list of priorities.  I could play a lot more if I wanted I suppose.

As a result of my lack of play and low skill, the fruit of my golf playing is quite small.  My investment is small and my return (in terms of score) is poor.

I played golf the other day with two friends.  Since there were only three of us, a new guy was added to our group.

The fellow that we added was a fantastic golfer.  He could easily hit the golf ball 250 yards.  He hit his tee shots straight on virtually every hole.  On the par 3s he hit the green in regulation almost every time.  On the long par 4s and par 5s, he hit the ball at least 250 – 325 yards each time….like clockwork.  He pitched the ball up on the green from 80 yards out and then two putted for par.  He scored something like par, birdie, par, par, par, birdie, boogie, par, par, par…..all day long.  I could learn a lot from this guy.  He could help me get my score lower for sure. He has something to give.  Unlike me….he is quite invested.

Around the 9th hole one of my friends asked the new guy, “How long have you been playing?”

He replied “Oh, I’ve been playing since fall 2008….about 2 years.”

“TWO years!!!!?????!!!”, we gulped.

We almost fell out of our carts.  No one plays golf that well and only has been playing for 2 years.  But it was true.  Another question came…

“How often to you get to play each week”, we asked.

He replied, “Oh, I play almost every day”.

Aha!!  Now we see why his score is so low – he has great clubs, he is physically fit, he practices a lot, he plays a lot and he’s dedicated.   His newest club was bought off eBay on sale for only $400.  This guy was dedicated time-wise and money-wise.  He was all-in….he was aggressively pursuing golf excellence.

Now I wonder this…..I wonder if we put even a fraction of this kind of effort into our relationship with God what the fruit of our lives would look like?  I wonder if we had the passion, drive, determination, the tools and focus this guy had for golf….if we had that same desire for God, what would our lives look like?  Pursuing God starts with a desire to pursue Him.  Out of that pursuit, our lives are changed.  We become what God intends for us to be.  We live lives that honor Him and are extensions of His love for others.

Are you pursuing God like you really want to?  Is getting to know Him and His ways a priority for you?  Is it your top priority?  Is your relationship with God something you experience throughout the day or is it confined to a quick daily prayer and a sometimes Sunday church visit.

I don’t want to add guilt to your day or your spiritual experience….I just want to encourage you to stop and ask God this one question:

“God, how do you want me to worship you and how do I get to know you better?”

Maybe you’ll fall to your knees and pray, maybe you’ll be more open to spiritual matters, perhaps you’ll buy a Bible or Christian book, gaze at the stars in awe, maybe you’ll face old fears knowing He’s now with you or maybe you’ll ask a friend who knows God to help you think through some things you’ve always wondered…or maybe you’ll hear the whisper of God saying “I love you….come hang out with me.”

Growing in excellence at golf requires several vital things: golf clubs, time invested on the course, usually lessons from someone who knows more than you and a desire to play well.

Pursue God and you will find Him….and your life’s mark will shine much brighter.

Deuteronomy 4:29 (New Living Translation)

But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.

Matthew 13:44-46 (New Living Translation)

44 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.

45 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. 46 When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!

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