Links Daily Devotional

Are You Cheating?

“Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’” (Malachi 3:8, NLT)

Our new Arizona region director Lewis Greer and I were recently going to visit one of the Links Fellowships in Arizona. Because I have lately been testing both a long putter and a belly putter, he asked me this question, tongue-in-cheek: “Are you still cheating with that putter of yours?”

I immediately responded, “I am. But it’s still legal!”

As golf’s ruling bodies deal with the decision of banning anchored putting beginning in 2016, a lot of golfers are adjusting how they putt even now. In the back of their minds, they wonder if they are already cheating by still using the long putters. That has been the case for me. I have felt guilty when I have scored well and won matches against my opponents. Plus, I’m a guy with spiritual interests. So I even got to asking myself: “Did I miss that putt because God was testing me?”

Sure enough, the next day Lewis and I played with a fellow Links Player. He also uses a belly putter, but now he has taken the putter off his belly to putt “legally.” You know what? He was making everything! Talk about a wrestling match in my poor little mind!

Asking ourselves whether we are cheating is actually an important question for God’s people. In the Old Testament, through the prophet Malachi, God indicted the people for not following his law of giving their firstfruits, or tithes, to him. He called this cheating.

The specifics of the tithe are an Old Testament law under which we do not live as the recipients of grace. However, the threads of giving God our best, of trusting him for our very provision, and of being delightfully generous with the money he gives us run right through the New Testament. If we don’t give God complete reign in our lives, right down to our finances, we are in fact cheating him.

We may also say that the thread of God’s blessing for people who earnestly love him in their obedience to him runs through the New Testament. God’s people under both the old and the new covenants find that he wants them to put their faith to the test. That is, he wants them to live out what he has directed with faith-filled assurance that this is the best way to live. And his response to that living will be to bless us as his beloved children.

As a living testimony, I can tell you that during my most difficult times, when the money was not flowing as I hoped it would, God still blessed my faithfulness. I gave him my best, my trust, and my generous response to his provision, and I have received his blessing. I may not be rich in the eyes of those who aspire to wealth above all, but my joy comes from my relationship with Christ, a wife and family (two grandchildren so far) who bless me, and friendships—including many Links Players—that are a gift to me. What a way to live!

Dereck Wong

January 17, 2013

Copyright 2013 Links Players International

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