Links Daily Devotional

Well-Adapted

To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law as under the Law… to those who are without law, as without law… to the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. (1 Corinthians 9:20-22, NASB)

The 2015 U.S. Open golf championship, like almost every U.S. Open, was no stranger to controversy. Most of that belonged to the golf course, with its bumpy greens, bouncy fairways, and “elastic” length. The conversation began in earnest three days before tournament play began, prompting Geoff Ogilvy, 2006 champion, to remark that this would be one of the easiest Opens to win because most of the field had already talked themselves out of having a chance.

Sure enough, the course had already defeated (mentally) some of the very best players in the world by Wednesday night, and it kept taking its toll every day. All this sparked a lot of “armchair quarterback” discussion among us amateurs. Though we weren’t even on Chambers Bay, let alone playing, humorous terms like “windmills” and “clown’s mouth” were tossed around. And that reminded me of something important I learned recently.

Stan Utley, former Tour player and current short-game guru to many pros, asked me if I knew what the most important swing skill for a competitive player was, and I answered, “Repeatability.” He said, “No, the most important skill is adaptability. Different courses, different weather, and different days all demand it.”

That, of course, was the secret to contending for the 2015 U. S. Open. The players who could adapt to the conditions, both mentally and in their games, began to rise to the top of the leaderboard. Those who relied primarily on repeatability faded away.

Paul talked about this very skill in 1 Corinthians 9:19-27, only he applied it to his preaching of the gospel. In the snippets above you can see it: “I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.” Have we learned that skill in our witnessing? Are we sensitive to those we meet? Do we know anything about “the course we are playing” and adapt to that, or do we just have one repeatable way of telling people about Jesus, and if it works it works? The message doesn’t change, of course, simply the way it is presented. But that can make all the difference.

Adaptability helped Jordan Spieth win the U.S. Open, and adaptability helped the apostle Paul win people to Jesus. It seems like a skill we should have, both on and off the course.

Lewis Greer
June 23, 2015
Copyright 2015 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.