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Speaking in the Light 5.17.2006

By Rick Racela

Too many of us are trying to live life like we are playing golf with one club.
Last year, while listening to the New York Mets pre game show, I felt like God was giving me a wonderful illustration of a mistake that I too often make, not with my ball playing, but with life in general. 
 Tom Glavine, who pitches for the Mets, was going through a stretch of games where he was getting hit pretty hard every time out while he was out on the mound. 
 Now Glavine is not only an all-star pitcher, he is also quite a big time golfer.  Rick Peterson, the Mets pitching coach, knew that and asked Tom, “Do you ever play in those golf tournaments and for convenience sake and to save time and energy,  only use one club for all 18 holes?” 
 Of course Glavine looked back at Peterson and smirked, “Of course not.  I like to use all my clubs.”  “Well,” Peterson added, “the same should go for your pitches Tom.  You’ve got five different pitches and you have been out there on the mound using the same one every time.  To be at your best, you must not be afraid to use them all.”
After hearing that conversation, I began to think how many situations, under the guise of saving time and maybe just being too lazy or weary to open myself up again, I tackle this challenge called life out there on my own- using only one club – my own safety club.
When I would open my eyes, I would see the room full of resources – all the other clubs -that God has placed around me with the express purpose that if we would work together, we could conquer this course before the course conquers us.  But because I don’t want to invest the energy it takes and because I don’t want to have to share the holes with clubs that I am not comfortable with and because I feel safer with my putter rather than the pitching wedge, I play at half-strength.
 I can almost hear God saying to me that if I would use my whole golf bag, meaning all those wonderful, gifted, talented, and different people around me, we would be winning tournaments and growing and stretching and becoming the team that God first desired us to be rather than being overworked and under-used clubs trying to do it on our own.   
God’s got a brand new bag of clubs all around you today.  Some of you are the drivers able to make that first shot off the tee and hit it a mile.  Some of you are the irons and are there for the specialist shots from all sorts of distances that every course challenges us to take and make. 
 Some of you are the pitching wedges to get us out of the tight spots.  Some of you are the putters and are there for those on the green moments.  Not every club is for every shot but all the clubs will be necessary before the game is over.   Are you a putter, ignoring the wood that is standing right beside you?  Are you a three-iron who won’t share the game with the eight-iron?  Are you trying to putt today with your Big Bertha driver?  Maybe the reason that we aren’t doing as well as we should is not because the course is too hard; but because we aren’t playing the game with all of the people that God has placed around us in the golf bag. 
Why not take some time to discover the clubs that you are surrounded by every day?  Why not learn who is who?  Why not have significant conversations or two with the people you see every day and get acquainted with them? 
 What are the strengths?  What are the weaknesses?  How available are they to you?  How available are you to them?  How willing are you to stop playing solo and think about the power of being part of a balanced team? 
I don’t want to live life like I am playing with one club.  I have told the Lord that I want to be willing to linger a little longer with those that I am in community with.  I want to come out of the castle of self protection, let down the draw bridge, dry up the moat, call off the alligators and become fully engaged in living this life as a united bag of golf clubs, and leave the solos behind.
One club may be good enough for miniature golf but there is nothing small about this big life that God has called us all to.  So where do we start?  Well you can’t know another person’s heart until you at least know their name so why not start there? 
 But don’t end there for there are at least 18 holes to play, complete with nooks and crannies and challenges of their own and God has put it in us that together we’re better- we’re better together so what are we waiting for?  I’ll meet you in the clubhouse.
Pastor Rudy is preaching this month about “Community” at The Lighthouse Church.  Call 465-6690 for Service Times and directions…

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