Links Daily Devotional

Finding Your Game

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” (Mark 10:18, NIV)

Where do you go to get game?

If Ben Hogan was right, you go to the dirt. You take whatever instruction you’ve been given, blend it with your natural tendencies, make note of what works, and do everything you can in your practice to perfect what is good.

Golfers of every level share this common quest: to find what works—at least for this round… at least for this hole… at least for this shot.

In the prophetic book of Amos, God spoke starkly of the sin of the people. They were unjust, neglectful, murderous, oppressive, and lacked integrity. Then appending an alternative to this string of judgments, God said, “Seek good, not evil, that you may live” (Amos 5:14).

Which presents an interesting question: where, when “the times are evil,” is one supposed to go to find what is good? Over and over, from one dreadful century to the next, humanity has proven its complete inability to maintain good. War, tyranny, organized crime and government-espoused injustice prevail. In such times, God said, “the prudent man keeps quiet” (v. 13).

But so also do the prudent man and the wise woman set out on the great search for what is good. It is their only hope against the wicked tide.

And so we land ourselves in the twixt of a conversation between a rich young man and a brilliant young rabbi. The story is told in Mark and Luke with an opening like this: The young man runs to Jesus and asks him the question that is plaguing his mind, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” You see, he wants to know what counts for good, for he has been diligently keeping the commandments of old. Will these, he must know, be enough?

But Jesus pulls him up short. “Why do you call me good?” he asks the young man. “No one is good but God.”

This could mean, taken plainly, that Jesus does not regard even himself as good. That would sure put a wrench in your theology! In fact, it’s a statement that some do try to use to muddle your thinking.

But Jesus said elsewhere, “If you see me, you’ve seen the Father” (John 14:9). And so, like a collector of roses along the garden walk, sometimes we must put more than a single truth together to complete the bouquet. What we find in John is the interpretation of Mark. Jesus was telling the young man, “You see good in me because you see God in me.”

And the bouquet is completed when we read forward still more, into Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “…you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Our only real good is the good of Christ.

If you are going to seek good, you will find it in the one who is our righteousness. Like the rich young man, you will find it in Jesus. And you will live.

Jeff Hopper

October 8, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

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