Daily Devotionals

Devotional: October 31st

The first tee. Often what happens there affects the flow of the entire round. Did you get to the course in enough time to relax and get focused or did you walk into the pro shop and pay and then scurry to the first tee to hit and get going? Did you take time to establish your thinking about the course or is that the farthest thing from your mind? Did you just have an argument with your spouse or your boss or your kids or whoever? Let me share one of the more important things you can do on the first tee to help you have an enjoyable round.

Mark your ball. No, you're not seeing things. Mark your ball. Using a pencil, a pen or a felt tip marker put a mark on your ball that designates that it belongs to you. The old story is told about two golfers who came to a blind shot uphill par three and both hit tee shots straight at the pin. When they got to the green only one ball was visible. They looked and, sure enough, the other ball was in the cup. Almost in one voice they said, "I got a hole-in-one." That's when they realized that they were both playing the exact same ball; same brand, same kind, same number.

Personally I have played with people who have had no idea what they were hitting; at least that is what they have claimed. Then they misplay a shot and it lands in the high weeds. A search ensues and someone finds a ball. The shout goes up, "Found it." The question comes back, "What kind is it?" Then the response is a brand and number. This is where it gets dicey. A few times I have had men say that was their ball when a couple of us in the group knew it wasn't.

I found one once and went through that routine. When the man said it was his I told him I was kidding. It was really another brand and number to which he replied, "That's right, I changed balls on the tee." I then told him that I was right with the first identification and was just kidding about the other kind of ball, so it must not be his. A moment later one of the other guys found a ball that was his. But since it was neither of the other brands I had mentioned he could not claim it. He reluctantly dropped another ball and took his stroke. Now, on the first tee I ask about ball brands.

This Thanksgiving I am so glad that I have no worries about a brand on my life. When people talk with me and it becomes evident to them that I am a child of God they quite often tell me that they are too. Then it comes. "I am a …", and they tell me some denominational name. I reply with, "I am a Christian." "I am too," they're quick to add. "Yes, but I am only a Christian," I tell them. Only a Christian. Only bound by the blood of Christ and not a church creed or council. My only mark is the blood of Christ and not the brand of some former church leader or style of church government or method of ordinance. Christ's name is the only name I wear. "And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch." Acts 11:26

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