Links Daily Devotional

Putting and Love

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, because love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8, NLT)

When I was in the Army (about a hundred years ago) and stationed overseas, I was fortunate to get to know a soldier named Bob Eastwood. Although I left Korea before him, I knew that when Bob’s service was finished he would go straight to the PGA Tour because he had already been to Q-School—and in fact had finished first.

The next time I saw Bob was about eight years later. I was living in Chicago and saw that he was entered in the Western Open, so I decided to go and say hello. I waited in the walk-off area just past the eighteenth green at Butler National and was able to get Bob’s attention as he headed for the scorer’s tent. After a moment or two he remembered me—or at least politely said he did—and I asked, “How is it out there?” His answer was simple, “It’s all about the flat stick, Lewis. Everybody out here can hit the ball, but not everybody can putt.”

To my eye that truth was evident in the 2013 edition of the Solheim Cup. The collective difference in the matches seemed obvious to me—it was all about the flat stick. Kudos to the European team for using their putters so well!

None of this is news in the world of golf, of course. It was Willie Park, Jr., the first golf professional to write about the game, who said, “A man who can putt is a match for anyone.” Willie, Bob, and the person who convinced the ladies from Europe to work almost exclusively on their putting before the Solheim Cup matches all understood the importance of putting.

So what does that have to do with love? I’m glad you asked.

Today’s words from Peter make up a verse I use fairly often on the golf course, especially when I’m playing with someone who is not yet a follower of Jesus. Here’s how. Someone in the group will play a hole erratically from tee to green, perhaps missing the fairway, missing the green, and finally getting on but not close to the hole, and then they’ll make a long putt to save a par or a bogey. That’s when I’ll say, as we walk off the green, “Putting is a lot like love. The Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins, and putting does that, too.”

If it looks like there is an opportunity to continue, I explain that the verse in the Bible is even better, though, because it is my love for another person that covers their sins. “If that sounds confusing, just think of someone you love. You don’t notice their faults and you forgive their mistakes because your love covers those. Imagine how much better we’d all be in life if we covered more sins with our love.”

It is true that one good putt can make up for several bad shots on the golf course, and too few of us, including me, work enough on our putting. But as nice as that is, it pales in comparison to the wonder of our love for others covering (almost like dropping a blanket over) their sins, especially their sins against us. And too few of us, including me, work enough on our love.

Lewis Greer

August 21, 2013

Copyright 2013 Links Players International

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