Monday, September 13, 2010
Today’s Topic: Shout it Loudly
Today’s Text: Isaiah 13:2 Raise a banner on a bare hilltop, shout to them; beckon to them to enter the gates of the nobles.
The first time it happened was 10 years ago. It took 32 years of trying to see it for the first time. During that time I had tried over 4,000 times to do it and had never accomplished it. What a moment it was when I was successful for the first time.
Since that first time I have tried over 1200 times to do it again. Yesterday I was successful. My odds are improving. At this rate the next hole-in-one on a golf course will happen in 3 years. I will keep trying. I am that persistent about things that I love.
What a thrill yesterday to watch from the tee box as that little white ball plopped into the hole. I shouted – loudly. People from adjoining holes shouted with me and raised their arms in a gesture of success and admiration. My son shouted. We high-fived. Two men from the next tee box came running over and peaked into the hole to verify what had happened. They wanted to be witnesses of a very special moment for any golfer. They may have also wanted the free beverages I would have to buy in the clubhouse.
I can’t remember how long Josh and I stood on that tee box yelling and jumping and raising our arms, but it was a long time. I will never forget that moment. I can’t wait until it happens again.
This morning, however, I am feeling rather guilty. No, I didn’t lie or cheat. I’m feeling guilty because of the public display of emotion that I showed over a single golf shot and what that says about my life. I’m feeling guilty about the passionate pursuit of a “one” that seems to be more significant than the passionate pursuit of the “One.” I wonder if I stood cheering the golf shot with my arms raised longer than I had cheered my Lord and Savior with arms raised in church just hours earlier. I wondered if my enthusiasm for the things of God is still more evident than my excitement over a game of golf.
Then I came to this point of puzzlement – have I pursued the one lost soul with the Gospel of Christ as persistently as I have pursued the “one” on a scorecard? Think about this a moment. How many attempts have you made in the last ten years to lead someone to faith in Jesus Christ? When did you stop trying? When did the church lose the enthusiasm of salvation and the persistence to witness no matter how long it takes to win even one? Why is worship in church so casual and non-expressive? Where are the shouts that attract people from adjoining properties? Where are the people running to be witnesses of what is happening? What has happened to us?
My friends, don’t pass this over a just creative writing or a good illustration. This is a serious matter for us. Every day God does incredible things in us and all around us. Where is the cheering? When I stood on the tee box I didn’t stop to think for one minute how much attention I was drawing to myself. I didn’t care for an instant what other people were going to think of me. I exploded with enthusiasm over accomplishing something I was pursuing.
So why is it that in church we are so reserved in our worship of the King who saved us from eternal death and gave us the free, fully-paid-for gift of eternal life? Why is it that we so rarely celebrate the victory of seeing one person come to Christ for salvation? Why have we stopped carrying our spiritual golf clubs out into the world’s courses of life to pursue the elusive “one”?
I think it must have something to do with what we really love.