Over the last few years I have become an avid golfer. Now being avid doesn’t mean I am any good. Golf definitely keeps me humble, a fine spiritual quality. But humility isn’t the only lesson I learn from golf. It reminds me how important choices are. Can I clear that hazard with a 5 wood? Nope. How much is that putt going to break? Read it wrong again. Bump and run this chip shot? Dummy, look how it jumped right! The problem is I don’t figure out what the right decision is until after I have made the wrong one. All that to say, it isn’t just my swing skill level that effects my score. The choices I make around the course has something to do with it as well.
To me, this provides some good spiritual insight. The “score” of our spiritual game isn’t just determined by our skills…how well one can understand the bible, our competency in prayer, or our how much we give. All those things are vital, but they can be totally undone by the choices we make. But in this we have a big advantage over my golf game. In it, I have to wait until I have swung to see that my choice was wrong. Spiritually, because we have the scriptures, I can learn from those who have “chosen” before me. That’s why I think the reading and re-reading of Exodus that we are doing this Summer is so helpful. We can avoid bad choices by learning from those who have chosen before us.
Along that line, we can learn a real lesson from Lot, the nephew of Abraham. In Genesis 18, he is given the “choice” of where he would like to settle. He chose what “looked” the best, the Jordan Valley with its fertile fields, ample water, and thriving cities. But in the end, it proved to be spiritually detrimental. Abraham, who was left with the hill country and all its challenges, proved it was the better place to dwell with the favor of God. So, for us, when we face life changing decisions, it isn’t always what makes the most sense, seems to offer the most opportunity, the surest route to success, that will prove to be “best” for us. Sometimes, the hard road, the road that takes the most effort is the one that will let us dwell with the favor of God. We should be grateful we can learn from those who have gone before.
Sharpen those skills. Strengthen your abilities. But also make good choices by learning from those who have gone before us.
See you Sunday.