Links Daily Devotional

MISTAKES: Lessons learned in 50 years of disciple-making (Part 4)

“Go therefore and disciple all nations.” (Matthew 28:19, NASB)

After Rickie Fowler’s historic finish over the last six holes and four-hole playoff to win the 2015 Players Championship, he was asked by a writer, “What was the turning point of the round?”

“Number twelve,” Fowler said. At that point, he felt he was “out of the tournament.”

He had pushed his drive right and found it “half buried in the bunker,” a short wedge-shot distance from the green. “It was an awkward lie.”

He didn’t know how he was going to get the ball out of the egg-shaped lie. But he invented a shot he didn’t know he had. This punch wedge shot caught the top half of the ball, and he went on to par the hole.

That par produced an inner surge for Fowler, and he said that after birdies at thirteen and fifteen and an eagle at sixteen, he knew he had a chance.

Fowler owned one of the most penalizing holes in golf, the famous seventeenth island par-3 hole. He birdied it on this Mother’s Day, and after a birdie on eighteen waited to see if he would be “the last man standing.” It wasn’t yet to be, as Kevin Kisner and Sergio Garcia finished strong, sending all three into a playoff over the same last three holes.

Fowler would go on to birdie the seventeenth again during the playoff and after Garcia was eliminated, birdie it again for a third time against Kisner for the win. He birdied it five times over the four tournament days. His mistake on twelve and discovery that he had a shot he’d never hit before, ignited the greatest finish in the history of the tournament and arguably one of the greatest finishes ever in golf. By Fowler’s smile, it was also obviously one of the most joyous experiences in his career.

Fowler’s reflections on his win reminded me of how one of my greatest mistakes turned into the most joyous experience of my life.

Throughout my youth and college days I felt that the way I would get in good standing with God was to be a good guy and do good works for God. But I never, ever felt I was good enough. It was if I was buried in a bunker and couldn’t figure a way out.

When Fowler zipped through his birdie-par-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie push, he made the game look easy on six of the most difficult finishing holes in golf. There was a smooth flow to every shot.

When I discovered my mistake, that it wasn’t by doing something but by knowing Someone that I got into right standing with God, something brand new happened, something I had never experienced (see Ephesians 2:8-9). I know it now as new life in the Spirit.

Some of you who are reading this know the discovery of this relationship with Jesus, this flow of his Spirit. He has lifted you, as he has me, out of a deep bunker into new life with him. Rickie Fowler experienced the joy of a great victory. Those of us, who by God’s grace have been lifted out of the sand, have experienced what Peter called “joy inexpressible” (1 Peter 1:8, NKJV).

That joy is available to anyone who will receive Jesus, the gift of God.

Jim Hiskey
May 19, 2015
Copyright 2015 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at