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Bless My Putter
Photo: Claude Coquilleau
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..." 
(Ephesians 3:20)

It’s an irony of short-sightedness that of all the people in the Bible’s well-known “Feeding of the 5,000” story, virtually all of them scored exactly what we read about: one free supper. They got some miracle bread and a few scraps of miracle fish – and they went home happy. Even those who were struck by the “Messiah” nature of the miracle simply exclaimed, in the colorful words of the late Adrian Rogers, “Man, this guy’s a walking cafeteria!”

They were in the presence of heavenly power, God’s own divine Son—and all they really cared about was a free food supply and perhaps political liberation from their Roman occupiers. The weightier matters of salvation, forgiveness of sins, an eternal home in heaven—these seemed to never cross their mind.

Small-minded Prayers

In his delightful memoir, The Education of a Golfer, Sam Snead lamented how he often would get the “yips,” and couldn’t putt worth a nickel. In one tourney, he muffed putts of 12, 18, and then 12 inches. Playing in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) one day, he got to the green and actually saw a big gray ape from the adjoining jungle leaning against the flag stick.(The Bulawayo Country Club apparently had snakes and charging rhino as “hazards” instead of sand traps.) He handed the monkey his putter and said, “Here, buster, you can do better than me.” The ape ran up a tree and made derisive noises as Snead went up and, sure enough, blew a five-footer. He concludes the sorry tale by confessing that on a PGA entourage to Rome, he actually wanted to have Pope John XXIII “bless” his putter. But when he confided to a monsignor at the Vatican about his woes, the priest shook his head sympathetically. “Oh, I know; my putting is absolutely hopeless too.”

Snead stared at him. “I guess I won’t bother the pope then,” he grumped.  “If you live here and can’t putt, what chance is there for me?”

I think we all find ourselves slipping into small-mindedness when it comes to how we approach heaven. We ask Jesus to bless our putters and straighten out our drives, to make us comfortable and rich and happy. But even a well-intentioned prayer like, “Lord, please heal my sick child” is not as mature, not as kingdom-worthy as “Jesus, please just give me yourself. Help me to love your government; make me eager for heaven’s principles to triumph here in our world.”

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By David Smith. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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