Links Daily Devotional

The Big ‘S’ in LinkS: Sharing Christ as His Ambassadors in Golf

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ… (2 Corinthians 5:20, ESV)

My older brother “Sonny” was killed while on active duty in the US Air Force when I was a junior at the University of Houston. He was my idol. Taught me golf, basketball, and how to fight. I never thought anyone could take his place in my life. But seven years later God gave me an elder brother who was, and still is, a mentor to me. He prefers to be unnamed, so as long as he is living I want to honor his request. I’ll call him my elder brother in this devotion.

Within the decade, more than 2,000 men were meeting in small groups at country clubs in greater Denver.I will say two things about my elder brother. He’s a golf nut. But also a solid follower and true ambassador of Jesus.

In the mid-1960s he asked me to take a trip with him from Washington, DC, where we both lived to Denver, Colorado. He wanted me to meet Jerry Lewis, an oilman and good friend of his. Jerry was a member at Cherry Hills Country Club, the site of Arnold Palmer’s final round charge, where he defeated Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus for his first US Open title.

We met Jerry in the men’s grill for breakfast.

Jerry was new to the faith but eager to share his faith with others. I don’t think he realized he was an ambassador for Jesus Christ. We encouraged him to find a brother to walk with and start a small group at Cherry Hills. Jerry told us he already had such a brother, Gene Neher, a fellow oilman and follower of Jesus, who played to a single digit handicap. Later, after we left the city, Jerry and Gene invited three other friends and began their group of five men.

The group grew quickly.

Soon there were more than a dozen coming to their weekly breakfast. They divided into two groups. The groups grew quickly, too. Within a few weeks, four groups had begun. They felt constrained to share what they were experiencing with other clubs in the city.

From a distance, we watched the work Jerry had begun grow like an Idaho forest fire. Within the decade, more than 2,000 men were meeting in small groups at country clubs in greater Denver. These men became ambassadors for Jesus to both the powerful and the poor and needy of the city. And to high school kids.

Jerry and his wife Martha Dell’s home was adjacent to the Cherry Hills course on Downing Street. As years passed and the work with the golfers grew to include men in business, government, and education, they decided to give their home to a foundation that would spread the love of Jesus throughout the city, state, nation and the world. You can go there today. It’s called Downing House.

Jerry continued sharing Jesus up until the day of his death on November 27 last year.

As I write, my mind scans over the past five decades since we first met Jerry. Only God knows how many lives have been impacted by this golfer and ambassador of Jesus Christ who gathered a few men together to share Jesus and their lives with one another.

Jim Hiskey
January 18, 2017
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