Summary: This is a sermon which compares the game of golf to the game of life.
The latter portion of my text reads, "....and without a parable spake He not unto them." Today I will use a parable or a comparison to illustrate the game of life.
It is obvious that the Apostle Paul was knowledgeable of the sporting events of his day. On numerous occasions he used athletics to set forth parabolically the truths concerning the greater game of life.
After all, golf is the game that one of our astronauts chose to play on the moon. It is called the "gentleman’s game." Others have called it "cow pasture pool." Hunters have poked fun at the golfer by saying, "You can’t eat that ball." Gary McCord said that it causes brain damage. I believe him!
I grew up in a house just off of the 14th fairway of the old Winter Haven Golf Club in Central Florida. It was nothing for us to have golfers looking in Mom’s flower beds for that wild, 200-yard slice they had just minutes before set sailing.
It was just natural that I would become both a caddy and a golfer. In the 1940’s when I started, the clubs had names. The four woods were the driver, brassie, spoon, and cleek. Two irons were the mashie and the niblick. The Calamity Jane putter, made famous by Bobby Jones, was in many bags in those days.
Today I want to look with you at the golfer’s course, concerns, caddy, and card.
I. THE GOLFER’S COURSE
Notice, first of all, that the game is played on a course. It is a prescribed course. A golf course is most commonly called a layout. Someone has to lay it out. It is built upon the natural terrain. Tons of dirt are moved and trees are planted. Lakes are made. Creeks are re-routed to suit the architect’s fancy.
When completed it consists of hills and valleys, doglegs, blind shots, traps, water hazards, trees, undulating greens, and that most dreaded part of the course called the out of bounds.
Life is like a golf course...unpredictable and always changing. It is quite different from the football field which is flat and always predictable. Always 120 yards long.
My life too, as a Christian, is prescribed, planned, and laid out by the Architect of the Ages. Jeremiah 29:11 Amplified Bible reads, "For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you...." The One who laid out the universe is the One who is laying out my life.
II. THE GOLFER’S CHOICE
I learned very early as a junior golfer that you have to play by the rules. Carry only 14 clubs. Tee-up behind the markers. Putt out. Don’t ground your club in the sand trap upon address. Yes, there is a rulebook in the game of golf. The golfer must choose to play by the rules. The Bible is the Christian’s rulebook. There are not any "Outback" Christians who can say "No rules....just right!"
The golfer must stay out of the traps. They are all along the landscape of life. Just waiting for an unsuspecting youth. Ask Samson. He was in one before he knew it. Ask the alcohol and drug addict if they ever had the faintest idea that their life could sink so low.
An obsession with money is a trap. Pornography is a trap. Wild parties are a trap. Running with the wrong company is a trap. The list is endless. One thing is for sure. Anything that takes us away from God is a trap.
The golfer must watch out for the out of bounds. Golfers call it O.B. In the game of life to disobey a clear command of God is to go O.B. Balaam went out of bounds when he went with Balak’s delegation. He died on a foreign battleground O.B. and is one of the most sternly denounced men in the Bible.
The golfer must watch his grip. A perfect swing with a poor grip can make for a bad shot. Christians, I exhort you, "Lay hold upon eternal life." I Tim. 6:12.
Grip it hard! Hold lightly to this world. It will fade with time.
The golfer must deal with the wind. It will affect every shot. That’s why players and caddies are seen throwing grass into the air.
I’ll never forget when Sam Snead came to our course in Winter Haven. I only had to cross the street and, believe me, I did. It was blowin’ a living gale that day and I absolutely was amazed at Snead’s mastery of the wind. He could hit a low boring shot with the best of them. He coined the words, "Hit it quail high."
The Christian seems to always have the wind in his/her face. The Apostle Paul warned the Ephesians about being "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine...." We too must test the wind. We must always ask, "How does this line up with the true Word of God?" Our Lord, the true Master of the Wind, is always ready to help.