Links Daily Devotional

‘Don’t Count That’

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

I bet you need some love. I know this because you are a golfer.

In a current TV spot for FedEx shipping, an unethical golfer keeps telling his caddie “don’t count that” as he duffs and cheats his way around the course. It’s hard to side with a guy who is so blatantly out of line and lets himself off for every bad action.

But here’s what is true: It would be nice if someone else would say to us—right after a bad shot—“don’t count that” and let us hit another shot in place of the ugly one. That’s a love we can relate to!

In fact, I did this recently with a buddy. He hit a wayward shot, and I tossed him a ball while mimicking the commercial: “Don’t count that.” He took my offer and responded, “Isn’t that exactly what the Lord does with us?”

I’m not sure this is exactly what God does with us. He usually allows appropriate earthly consequences for our rash actions, including strained relationships, loss of respect from others, financial penalties, and more. Our actions, good and bad, do count.

What they don’t count for is salvation. Our Links Fellowship was recently talking after a great day of golf. We were discussing the Process of Perfection series that Jeffrey Cranford and Jeff Hopper have been doing on Fridays. We realized, in reference to 1 Corinthians 13 (you might know this as “the love chapter” read at many weddings), that while our love is so imperfect, the love of Christ is perfect. Where we fall short, he steps in.

What counts, over and above everything else, even our failures, is the love of Jesus. Because of what our Savior did for us on the cross, God will not count our sins against us when we stand before him in judgment. Thank you, Jesus!

Here’s the way I read today’s verse. Faith is good, for with it we believe that God will take care of all of our worries and concerns in this life, including our concerns over our own sins. Hope is good, for by it we believe that God that he lift us past our sins and into eternity. But here is what makes that work: his love. “The greatest of these is love” because it is the love of Christ on the cross that is the aim of our faith and our hope. He acted first. We follow.

And when we follow, we desire to show enduring love. Maybe the best place to practice this love well is with family, with parents and spouses and children. One of the participants in our Links Fellowship offered the example of wisdom that a father imparted to his newly married son: “If you love on your wife more than anything else and she does the same, love will always win out in the marriage; you can handle all the challenges in your marriage.”

Jesus said that we love him by loving one another (John 14:23 and 15:12). In a recent golf game, a partner of mine was really struggling with his game. I just kept encouraging him (loving on him). All of a sudden, his game turned around and we ended up winning our match! I can’t guarantee the result, but I can tell you it’s great to show Christ’s love to our fellow golfers. Maybe then they will see Jesus!

Dereck Wong
May 13, 2015
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