(read James 1:19-27 note: there is no mention of golf!)
Ok, ever heard this one? How are the Bible and golf alike?
- Well, they both seem boring from the outside looking in.
- The rules for both seem mystifying and unknowably complicated (to be fair, the rules of golf are harder to understand!).
- They both seem to take too long to get through (again, from the outside).
- They both are decidedly different (as in much better) than those first impressions once you experience them.
- Both take a level of dedication that is more than passing if you are going to get anything out of them.
From here on the two diverge, as paths in a forest.
Golf is a game one can enjoy for most of a lifetime, no more or less.
The Bible is God’s Word given to guide us to redemption and service to Him in this life, and joy everlasting eternally, both now and in the risen life to come.
Again, to be fair, understanding the Bible is easier than mastering golf! When we approach God’s Word with a prayerful heart and mind, He speaks to us by the agency of the Holy Spirit, not because of our mastery of divine insight.
In the game of golf, I get out what I put in; in the Bible I get out what God puts in, now that’s a good handicap!
Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV)
3 I thank my God every time I remember you.
4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Paul is writing to the Church in Philippi, a congregation near to his heart and involved in his mission. The greeting is a joyful one of partnership in the Gospel; whatever warts and spots the Church there had, they were positively engaged in what really matters, spreading the Good News of Jesus. At the core of Paul’s joy in this bunch of folks is faith in the Lord of the Church, the One who began the good work in them, and who will carry it forward in until the finish line is crossed.
Are spiritual descendants of this Church still engaged in ministry? No doubt they are, we may be confident of this, even as Paul, and for the same good reason; the work belongs to the One who begins it! No Church is without flaws and disagreements. We are all susceptible to being side-tracked by passing things. Our challenge is to remain focused on the work begun so long ago in Christ Jesus, being heralds of the invitation He proclaims as clearly today through the obedient Church as He did on the byways and in the towns and villages of Palestine;
14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:14-15 (NIV)
37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached– 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. Acts 10:37-38 (NIV)
Will we proclaim, in deed and word, any less?