Links Daily Devotional

Another Kind of Strength

Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32, NIV)

I am not a long hitter.

This has always been true. I grew up playing the game with the old equipment and old golf balls. We learned to shape shots and finesse it somewhere near enough the green that we could get it up and down.

Righteousness has a strength all its own, even when it looks so very different from where the world would steer our course.But the fact that I am not a long hitter has been increasingly accentuated in recent years. For one, I’ve gotten older. For another, I’ve endured a weakening year. So, playing an “Impossible Open” not long ago, I had to swallow every last ounce of hope at muscle when I was repeatedly outdriven by the softball player-turned-avid golfer, who in her later 20s generated clubhead speed I only dream of. Granted, she didn’t blow it by me, but she’s only two years into a game I’ve played seriously for almost 40 years now. And she wasn’t my only playing partner…

On our second hole, I hit a good drive. For me. It was out about as far as I could hit it this time of year, what with the cold air and the wet ground. And the third member of our group walked by my ball and just kept walking. I had 300 yards into the par-5. He had 229.

He too was young, though, and lamented his poor decisions and missed opportunities, and when we came up for air at the end of all this varied effort, savvy and short game prevailed. The old guy had won the battle of this little group of three.

This week, I will join the rest of the Links Players staff for the first of our twice yearly meetings. I missed them both in 2016, the timing too inconvenient for the appointments and surgeries that eventually removed the unwelcome tumor in me. I look forward to this time, because if this group possesses any preeminent characteristics, they are these: experience, wisdom, and righteousness. These are patient men and women more than strong ones. And they are, as Solomon wrote, “better” for their self-control.

Righteousness, of course, has a strength all its own, even when it looks so very different from where the world would steer our course. It is the preventive against a host of nasty consequences; it is a fragrance drawing notice to the King.

And it is the King we do not want to overlook here. It is his righteousness that was delivered without blemish. Though it looked like meekness and led to death, it resulted in his inheriting both heaven and earth. How well we live when we follow his lead, then! How well we live and how blessed in that living! For this reason, “let us [never] become weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9).

Jeff Hopper
January 23, 2017
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