Links Daily Devotional

The Perfect Partner

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ… For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9, NASB)

Qualifying is now going on for the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. Four-ball is the proper name for what most of us call “best-ball” or “better-ball.” By any name, it consists of a two-player team, each playing their own ball, and then recording the better score of the two for the team on each hole. Scores can get pretty low, and the format can be a lot of fun.

In the Hawaii qualifier one of the partners of a team, 47-year-old Bill Walbert, a physician’s assistant, was called away to surgery shortly before play began. His partner, 18-year-old Brent Grant, showed up at the first tee with another player and was told that while it was too late for a substitute, he could play for the team on his own. So he did, and he shot a personal-best competitive round of 63, winning the event and a spot in the championship—the only spot available at that qualifier.

Most of us have virtually no hope of getting in to the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, but any of us could have if we had been smart enough to get Brent Grant for a partner and then just not show up. I’m certain that Bill Walbert is an excellent golfer, and he might have even contributed to the score if he had been able to play. If it were me, however, I might have gotten in the way and made the score worse.

On the other hand, all of us have a hope of getting into heaven, which is even better than a national championship golf tournament. But none of us can do it on our own. In fact we can’t even really contribute to it except for one thing—we can choose the right partner. Based on the verses above, that would be Jesus.

I love the story about the farmer who bought a roadside field that was filled with rocks and tree stumps and hardly useable for crops. He spent a long time and a lot of sweat and muscle cleaning it out, smoothing the rough places, cultivating the soil, and finally planting winter wheat. One day he went out to check the growing crop when he saw a man standing by the fence, looking at the now beautiful site.

The farmer asked if he could help him and the stranger said, “I’m a preacher from up north just passing through and when I saw this amazing field I had to stop to admire it. When I look it over I can’t help but think what a marvelous and wonderful place you and God have made here.”

To which the farmer replied, “Thanks, but you should have seen this field when God had it by himself.”

Too often we think like that farmer and believe that it is up to us to make ourselves good enough or beautiful enough to get in; but the opposite is true. We can never move enough rocks or tree-stumps to be good enough. But when I see what Jesus has done with the lives of others, and even my own life, I want to say, “You should have seen me when I had me by myself.”

It is too late for you to get Brent Grant as a four-ball partner, but it is not too late for you to get the perfect partner for eternity, Jesus. He will get you in.

Lewis Greer
December 17, 2014
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