Links Daily Devotional

The Majors

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV)

Depending on how you look at it, the golf season winds down starting today. That’s because the last of the season’s men’s majors tees off in New York. In fact, if you blinked not long after the conclusion of Phil Mickelson’s storm to victory at the Open Championship, you might be surprised that the PGA Championship is here so soon.

Be that as it may, the eyes of golf have again turned to Tiger Woods, as his romping win at Firestone last weekend has many thinking maybe this is it, maybe Woods is about to win his next major.

You see, spotlight on the majors, even though Woods himself declared his season a success even if he doesn’t win at Oak Hill—part of his reason being that there are four “big” tournaments left to go in the run for the FedEx Cup. No one seems to have heard. They want to know if Woods can get it done here and now; otherwise, see you in April at Augusta National.

Maybe this is good. The emphasis is where it should be: on the majors.

Sometimes I wonder if we get this right when we walk out our life with Jesus. Are we emphasizing the majors?

Of course, to do this we must first identify what those majors are. “To obey,” we read in several places in Scripture, “is better than sacrifice.” And obedience, Jesus told his disciples, was the measure of their love for him (John 14:15). So we’d have to cast a vote for obedience.

But a rote obedience, an adherence without grace, is what we know as legalism—a suffocating condition that walks with its partners, judgment and discouragement. So layered above even obedience, we find great value in the trio championed by Paul at the end of 1 Corinthians 13: Faith. Hope. Love.

It is faith, we know, that counts for righteousness, for us as it was for Abraham (Romans 4:1-3, 4:23-25). Faith puts us on the path behind Christ, following him as he leads.

Hope carries the acts of this life on a cloud of eternal motivation. Two chapters later, Paul was telling the Corinthians that without the hope of resurrection, even faith is futile (1 Corinthians 15:17). Hope has us living for this life and the next.

Love reigns supreme. It may be obedience that demonstrates our love for Jesus, but it is our love for him that rightly provokes that obedience. And it is loving service for others that shows we really want to follow the example our Lord set in the washing of the disciples’ feet.

Yes, it serves us well to appeal to our golf sensibilities here by saying that a winning walk with Jesus shows best in how we “play the majors.”

Jeff Hopper

August 8, 2013

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