Vacation season is quickly coming to an end and my wife and I managed to squeeze in a vacation last week. That’s right; Pastors do get a vacation even though some people think that the only day that we work is on Sunday. We spent the week traveling to see some of our children and family in northern West Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey.
It was good to see our friends and family that we have not been able to see for over a year or so. I have to say that the highlights of the trip for me were three things. First and foremost was seeing family and friends that Jennifer and I have miss seeing. Second, and this was really a highlight for me, was to sit down and eat some good old Maryland steamed blue clawed crabs fresh from the Chesapeake Bay. If you have never eaten Maryland steamed crabs, you have not experienced the joys of Maryland seafood. West Virginia is almost heaven but Maryland crabs are right up there. The third highlight and the most important was an opportunity to spend an afternoon on the golf course with my son and grandson.
I had not seen my grandson for years and he had grown into a budding young man of fourteen. This round of golf was going to be a wonderful day of bonding, telling stories, making up for lost time and really getting to know my grandson. Well, my grandson is more into baseball and he plays on the Little League teams and will be trying out for the high school team this coming year. He is not a seasoned golfer and so we had to go to the driving range before teeing off so he could get re-acclimated to hitting golf balls instead of baseballs.
He didn’t have his own set of golfs so I volunteered to let him use mine since his dad was a lefty and we were both right-handed. So, off we go to the driving range to hit some practice balls. After some last minute swing instructions and swing thoughts, we let him hit a bucket of balls. He is doing okay with the irons but as most of us males with our ego driven mindsets, we are required to power the ball down the field. He is swinging as hard as he can without a lot of success. So, I decide it’s time for him to use the bigger headed clubs so he will have a better chance of getting the club on the ball. MISTAKE!
He tees up with my most prized club, my driver and he takes a rip that would have sent the ball flying hundreds of yards if he had managed to hit the sweet spot on the club face. Unfortunately, he hit the ball with the shaft of the club and instead of the ball flying a hundred feet, the head of my prized driver flew about 20 yards as it broke off of the shaft. I was surprised at my reaction, there was “None”? No big deal, try my three wood and see if that works better. I couldn’t believe that I just said that.
My grandson apologetically picks up the three wood (which is my next prized club in my bag) and proceeds to rip the cover off the golf ball. MISTAKE! He does the exact same thing, the head of the club now travels about 40 yards and another club has met it destiny. I couldn’t believe my reaction, there was “None”. My words were trying to be of comfort to him and this seemed to be an innate, almost a generic common response.
We had not even started to golf, we had not teed our balls up at the first hole and I would be playing a round of golf for the first time in my life without two of the most important golfs that are needed to be successful in golf. Somehow, I wasn’t worried about the clubs, I was excited about playing this round of golf with my son and grandson and it didn’t matter what obstacles were thrown in the way.
We teed off at our appointed tee time and had a wonderful day of golf. The funny part of all this is that my score was exactly the same average score that I normally shoot. The clubs didn’t make a difference; it was all about my attitude.
I could have refused to play because I didn’t have the proper clubs, I could have been angry at my grandson and destroyed our relationship. I could have moped and moaned and made everyone else miserable. I could have shouted, jumped up and down and thrown the rest of my clubs in the lake but I didn’t. I wanted to spend some quality time with my grandson and I did. It was wonderful.
The point of all this! Christ changes us; he makes us a new creation in Christ. Ephesians 4:23 “to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on a new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
I wonder how Christ would have handled that golfing situation with my grandson, I’m sure that he would have shown love, comfort, redemption and an opened heart. I hope I was able to share Christ with my grandson without saying a word but just letting him see my attitude. In Phil. 2:5, Paul tells us; “Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ:” Thinking more of others and less of ourselves.
Whatever trials and tribulations that you may face this week, pull the happy club out of your golf bag and chose to live each moment of your life as if it were your last. Enjoy life; it is too short to worry about a broken golf club.
— Tom Beckette is pastor of Nighbert United Methodist Church and a member of the Logan Ministerial Association.