Links Daily Devotional

Kingdom Etiquette

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31, NIV)

I was having an engaging conversation with a Links Player about each golfer’s sphere—it’s a word far easier for me to spell than to say!

For a golfer, your sphere is what we might define as your range of peripheral vision. Whenever you are getting ready to play a shot, you will see the objects in your sphere. And if those objects are people, look out! One false move and your concentration is broken. It’s hard to be happy with the results—or the offending person—when that happens.

Over time, though, we should be learning the importance of standing still or keeping out of others’ spheres altogether when they are playing their shots. This is known as golf etiquette. It’s not in the Rules of Golf, but it’s the right thing to do. It’s what those who know the game pass on to those who are learning the game.

Sometimes life in the faith is like this. There are what we might call the “rules” of Scripture. These are the things God wants us to do as we follow the lead of his Son. The Bible even sometimes calls these commandments. Certainly we are to adhere to these. But additionally, there are those habits and practices around the rules that also reflect God’s heart and make a difference in the faith we live out in this world.

In Mark 12, when Jesus earmarked the two greatest commandments, he didn’t then provide a detailed follow-up list for how they are to be lived out each day. Consider the second of these commandments: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Your “sphere” in the world might be different than mine—that is, you might see neighbors I don’t see and I might recognize needs that you don’t. So the love we demonstrate to them might look different—you’ll bring a meal when your neighbor is sick, while I might mow his lawn. You’ll provide a beautiful book about the love Jesus has for them, while I might sit down and share this love in a conversation over coffee. But we’re both showing the love of the Father.

This kind of righteousness is like golf etiquette because it requires a sensitivity that stretches beyond just obeying the rules and making swings. You really have to keep your eyes open to what others are doing and what their needs are. And you have to keep your ears open for the leading of the Holy Spirit. When these are our holy habits, we stand a real chance of seeing God glorified through us!

Dereck Wong and Jeff Hopper
November 17, 2014
Copyright 2014 Links Players International
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