Links Daily Devotional

For the Ages

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. (Proverbs 16:31, ESV)

To use the common vernacular, we love us some Bill Rogers around here.

If you’re wondering who precisely it is we’re talking about, Rogers won the 1981 British Open Championship and PGA Tour Player of the Year. It was a good season. But not too long after those honors, the native Texan wearied of the traveling that professional golf required. He played with less interest, then eventually little at all. He settled with his family in San Antonio, where they could sink roots and live like “regular people.” Echoes, you might say, of Byron Nelson.

Through the years, Bill Rogers and Randy Wolff, the South Central region director for Links Players and himself a former Tour player, maintained a friendship in the game and developed a friendship in the faith. They are, we’d be most accurate to say, very close brothers, and they have let many of you in on their fellowship through the years.

This summer, Rogers participated in the Champion Golfers’ Challenge, a mildly competitive reunion of former Champion Golfers of the Year. So obscure is Rogers these days, though, that when the Open’s own web site highlighted 19 of the 27 players who would take part, he was not listed among them. No worries, for neither was his team captain, a somewhat less obscure fellow named Arnold Palmer.

Which sets us up for the magically obvious: it was the Palmer-Rogers team that won, along with their two other teammates, Paul Lawrie and Darren Clarke.

The win, however, is not the story.

The result was a four-way tie at three under par. Palmer hit just one shot, a ceremonial ball off the first tee—the same effort he gave in his “only [other] shot of the year,” made at the Masters in April. But it was Palmer’s team who took the tiebreaker, because their average age—with a full-fledged assist from Palmer’s 85 years—outdistanced the rest.*

In a recent exchange among friends about this event, Tim Philpot chimed in: “Old age is wonderful.”

Solomon suggested the same sentiment in his proverb about gray hair, the very color that’s sweeping the nation among people my age. And he attributed this coloring to a righteous life.

What exactly did he mean? That every good deed turns another hair gray? Now, that would be something! Rather, Solomon recognized that those who live close to the design of God stand a good chance to reach fullness of age. Conversely, sin has its consequences, both eternal and physical.

Not even the pious are guaranteed tomorrow, and sometimes a wicked man lives the lives of a cat. But those who trust and obey not only find they are happy in Jesus, they often find they have many extra years on this earth to enjoy him and the blessings he has given.

*Special note: With the pleasure of serendipity, I came to discover after beginning this devotion for today that this is Arnold Palmer’s 86th birthday and Bill Rogers’ 64th. Happy birthday, gentlemen!

Jeff Hopper
September 10, 2015
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