Links Daily Devotional

Will I Succeed?, Part 11

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8, ESV )

It used to be that there were no ropes between the players and fans. Sometimes an eager enthusiast would march right out on the practice tee.

One day during the Canadian Open, I was practicing right next to Gary Player. A woman walked up, no more than six feet from Gary. I overheard her say, “Mr. Player, you have the most natural swing I’ve ever seen.”

“Thank you,” Gary said, turning toward her. I could tell he was trying to be polite, but at the same time I knew he wanted her to leave. After he began to practice again, she got the message and walked away. A few minutes later, he walked over toward me, “Did you hear the woman, laddie?” He liked to call people “laddie,” even though I was only a year younger than him. It was an affectionate term.

I smiled.

“If she only knew…” He shook his head.

“Knew what?” I asked.

“Just how unnatural this game is. It’s the most unnatural game in the world.”

Gary could be like a preacher at times. This was one of those times. For the next 10 minutes, he lectured me about how the body doesn’t want to do what it must do to make the ball go where it’s supposed to go.

All I did was nod.

He was right. You have to make your body do what it does not want to do to succeed. Gary Player is the supreme example of someone who has trained his body to do what it doesn’t want to do—a man as physically fit as any golf professional I have ever met, and prosperous.

Gary was not always prosperous. I remember him telling me that when he first started playing professional golf, he washed his socks in the shower, “jumping up and down on them.” He became a prosperous man by practicing what he told me.

The Hebrew word for prosperous found in Joshua 1:8 is tsalach. Strong’s Concordance amplifies its meaning as “push forward, break out, come (mightily), go over, be meet, be profitable…” “Tsalach,” writes Mike McLouglin, “indicates achievement in material wealth…accomplishment in life and career activity.” It takes effort on our part. I like Strong’s idea that it means to “push forward, break out.”

In the first and maybe my favorite of all the Psalms, the Blessed (or Happy) Person is described as being like a “tree planted by the rivers of waters which yields its fruit in its season…its leaf also does not wither, And in whatever he does he prospers.”

We hike near Harper’s Ferry, Maryland, a little village nestled under the Appalachian Mountains. Two rivers, the Shenandoah and Potomac, intersect at the foot of the mountains. One of the things I enjoy are the large trees at the tongue where the rivers meet. I have one photo on my phone to remind me of this great promise from God in Psalm 1.

Look carefully at these words. I believe the picture of prosperity from God’s point of view lies here. The rooting of the tree where two great rivers meet looks immovable; the trunk is healthy, has no blemishes, and the branches stretch out over the Potomac.

And don’t you love the idea that the prosperity God offers is one in which the “leaf does not wither”?

We each have 1440 minutes in our 24-hour day.

Would you be willing to take ten of these minutes now or before you retire tonight and muse on the 10 verses in Joshua 1:6-9 and Psalm 1? Soon after I finish writing this and you read it, we will take the first step of the rest or our lives. If you want to know the path to true prosperity, you might well find its first step in these passages.

It’s never too late to seek God’s way.

Jim Hiskey

November 17, 2011

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