Links Daily Devotional

No Picnic?

Throughout the period of their dedication, they are consecrated to the LORD. (Numbers 6:8, NIV)

A recent article in the New York Times (“Polishing Antique Idea, Club Recruits Caddies,” June 2, 2013) looked at the revival of a caddies program at a club on Long Island. It made a great case for bringing caddies back into the game. They’ll get no argument from me. I love the idea of working as a tandem this way, either as the caddie or the player, of which I’ve been both.

But what I enjoyed most about the article were the observations of member Carolyn Argento, who told reporter Bill Morris, “It’s a different game when you walk. You’re not discombobulated worrying about the cart. You focus on the game, not where to park.” Her playing partner Joan Small added, “When you ride, you’ve got the food and the drinks in the cart. It’s almost like a picnic.”

These ladies obviously take their golf seriously, and I like that!

In our time, it’s hard to find people who are serious in the same way about matters of the faith. They’re happy when things are like a picnic, where everyone brings their best recipe and we sit around and talk casually while the kids play. And while there’s something to be said for such cultivation of friendship and community in faith, it appears we’re often hesitant to issue ourselves a challenge.

In the Old Testament, we find the vow of the Nazirite. Any Hebrew man or woman could make “a special vow, a vow of separation to the LORD” (Numbers 6:2). Adherence to this vow came with dietary restrictions and other indications of the commitment that were adhered to for as long as the period of dedication lasted. In Acts 18, we read of Paul taking a vow, too (which may have been a Nazirite vow, because a cutting of his hair was involved). And Paul himself wrote to the Corinthians of married couples agreeing to abstain from sexual intercourse “for a time” so that they might focus on prayer.

In the midst of the freedom we are given as followers of Christ, we may choose to make a step up in the way we live out our faith. Certainly we don’t think it crazy for golf’s tour professionals to work so much harder at the game than most of us do, nor do we hesitate to put in some extra practice when we have our own big tournament coming up. Why should we hesitate, then, to set aside a season to go beyond an easy picnic-level faith and in disciplined fashion train ourselves to be godly? Maybe that season is now.

Jeff Hopper

June 20, 2013

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