Links Daily Devotional

Witnesses, For and Against

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” (Luke 19:39-40, NASB)

Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. (James 5:3, NASB)

Of all the golf-related commercials I’ve seen on TV, my favorite is the one where a fellow (actor Jackie Flynn) finds his ball up against a rock. He glances back to see if anyone is watching and then kicks the ball away from the rock. Then he yells to the others, “I got it! Lucky break.” As he looks down at his ball to hit it, Phil Mickelson appears and says, “Foot wedge, huh?”

After a short lecture on Rule 13-1, Mickelson kicks the ball back by the rock and apparently disappears. Again the guy looks around, and just as he is about to use his foot wedge again, Mickelson leans out from behind a tree and says, “Still here.”

When we are tempted to break a rule while playing golf, we hope no one is watching. On the other hand, we want there to be at least one witness when we make a hole-in-one. We would even like to have a witness or two when we shoot a great score, or hit a great shot.

What I’ve learned over my years of playing golf is that there are always witnesses, although those witnesses may not be people. In today’s scriptures, the witnesses (according to Jesus) may be stones, and according to James it may be the rust on your silver and gold.

This last is particularly pointed, because in James it is the very thing that Christians are arrogant about that is the witness against them. They don’t try to hide their wealth, they show it off. But when they do so everyone can see that their wealth is unused, because their precious metals are tarnished and their fine clothes are moth-eaten. They have become witnesses against these brothers who knew the right thing to do and failed to do it.

In the case of Jesus, all creation is his witness. Just as we bear testimony to Christ for making us a new creation, so the created world—simply by being—bears witness to its creator. But Jesus says the stones would even “cry out.” Isaiah 55:12 pictures creation rejoicing at the redemption of captive Israel, “For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

So rejoice with creation when you play well, and don’t be like the guy in the commercial and break the rules because you think no one is watching. Phil may not be behind the tree, but the tree is still there.

Lewis Greer
June 30, 2015
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