Links Daily Devotional

The Boat and the Water

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world… (Romans 12:2, NIV)

Maybe you’ve already had a chance to read your November 2012 Golf Digest. The edition includes an article by Max Adler, titled “A Glimpse Inside the Soul of Pro Golf.” It’s a close look at why so many players are giving glory to God in the wake of their tournament victories, as well as a peek into the weekly fellowships on each major tour. Those interviewed and quoted include players Stewart Cink and Jonathan Byrd, chaplains Cris Stevens (LPGA) and Jose Alvarez (Web.com), and Links Players President Jeffrey Cranford.

But I was pleased to read as well the insights of Alistair Begg, pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland and a man who enjoys golf. At one point, he was asked about the integration of one’s faith into their profession. “The challenge for any Christian,” he told Adler, “whether they’re in the sporting world, or the business world, or in arts, facing daily all the allures and enticements, is for the boat to be in the water without the water getting into the boat.”

Allures and enticements—we can all say we have been confronted by those. From pesky distractions to the temptation toward blatant sin, we will be coaxed by the workings of the world to stray from what we know is our truest purpose.

What is that purpose? Creedally speaking, few have ever made argument with this: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism).

How is this best done? Two words, more hymnal than creedal this time: Trust and Obey. That’s right. The old words ring true: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way/To be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.”

It’s the trusting and obeying, of course, that runs headlong into those “allures and enticements” that would throw water into our boats. More direly, with a mix of shipping metaphors here, the allures and enticements are sirens that would wreck our very faith (1 Timothy 1:18-19).

So we must ask—and plenty have done so through the centuries—whether it is really possible to perform Begg’s trick, to keep the boat in the water without the water getting into the boat. That is, can we really sail on the sea of culture without culture loading its weight upon us (for even if we do not take on so much cultural water that we go down, most of us toy with culture’s adventure enough that the water gets in and impedes our faith’s progress)?

The answer must be yes. If Paul’s exhortation to the Romans is to be trusted as possible—and we know that God asks of us the very things that he is mighty to equip us in doing—then the answer must be yes. We can find our way across the sea, we can reach “the other side,” when we trust God’s Word and live it out, not conforming to the world we live in, yet living there all the same.

Jeff Hopper

October 17, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.