Links Daily Devotional

A Disciple’s End Goal

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who when he is fully trained will be…” (Luke 6:40, ESV)

There’s a story that has been floating around the golf milieu for many years. It’s that legendary Ben Hogan had never made a hole-in-one. But Mancil Davis, the Director of Golf Operation with the National Hole-in-One Association interviewed Hogan near the end of Hogan’s life to find out what was true. (The story reported in USA Today on July 17, 2006 stated that Davis uncovered two hole-in-ones Hogan had made.)

When Davis asked Hogan to verify he had made two hole-in-ones, he said, “I would have had more if I aimed at the hole.”

Jesus’ example was not only to be like him in character but also in practice.Maybe you’ve heard this story. I find Hogan’s answer worth pondering. I was taken aback when I first heard that he did not aim at the hole. Wasn’t that where he wanted the ball to go? My hunch is Hogan played the percentages. His end goal for the tournament was what was of importance to him.

Aim is something most people think about at the start of a new year.

As I look back on 70 years in golf, I confess I’ve made many mistakes. One of my biggest mistakes had to do with my end goal. Today I’d like to invite you to sit down with me in my library or an inviting grill at your favorite golf club. There’s just the two of us. After we get acquainted, we discover we both have an interest in spiritual matters. Imagine that I ask you, “What do you think is the end goal of the disciple of Jesus?” I listen to your answer, then you ask for my answer:

“In my early days of following Jesus,” I say, “my end goal was to lead others to Jesus.

“But then a decade passed and I realized my end goal was all horizontal and changed my answer to know Jesus and make him known.

“Then in January 1980 I altered my answer again. I sat beside my pal Wally Armstrong in the front seat of a van in Palm Springs, California. Wally was competing on the PGA Tour and together we were trying to figure out how to make Jesus known on the Tour. God appeared to us, almost visibly—not in a whisper but a thunder. He wanted first our hearts, not just our heads. He wanted us to love him with mind, soul, strength, and heart. 

“I assumed thereafter, rightly I believe, that this is the chief aim of man. And stemming from this love relationship we were to glorify and enjoy God forever. But this was not where I finally ended.”

I pause, lean forward, and ask you, “Do you know what end goal Jesus has for all of his ‘fully trained disciples’?”

Before you answer I say, “If you do, you beat me. It took my brain scores of readings of the four Gospels before I saw it. As the patriarch Job said, “I had heard by the ear but now my eye sees it” (Job 42:5).

Jesus said the “disciple who is fully trained will be like [his teacher].” This is what I’ve come to. He wants us to be like Jesus. He is our teacher.

He wants his son or daughter to be a little Jesus. “Learn of me,” he said. “I am meek (not mild but like a powerful horse well-directed by the reins of the rider) and lowly in heart (or humble)” (Matthew 11:29, KJV). These two character traits—meekness and humility—were among the first things Jesus asked his 12 apprentices to learn.

He said, “I have given you an example…” (John 13:15a).

His example was not only to be like him in character but also in practice: learning the Scriptures well enough to accurately pass them on to others; following his example of rising early or praying late, even all night; reaching out to both the least and the lost; bringing healing to others. This was Jesus. We are to be like him. This is our end goal.

This is what the world needs most, people who act and live like Jesus.

I am asking myself a question right now: What is one thing I might do in character or practice to be more like Jesus in 2016? Think with me about it. One thing.

Jim Hiskey
January 19, 2016
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