Devotional: November 23rd
As the 1950's belonged to the hard charging knight from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Arnold Palmer, so did the 1960's belong to the burgeoning talents of the chubby kid from Columbus, Ohio, Jack Nicklaus. As the 70's began people wondered who would step forward to challenge the Golden Bear as the new kid on the block for the decade. A number of golfers were poised to have what were thought to be break out careers. Some rose to the occasion from time to time but none that truly challenged Nicklaus, or even Palmer.
Then it happened. A tall blonde haired skinny kid started the 1974 season with a win at the annual Crosby Clambake at Pebble Beach. He built a comfortable lead the last day and held on to beat all the notables, Nicklaus and Palmer included. He then won the PGA event at Phoenix to open the year as hot as anyone has been. People began to wonder. Could this be the new heir to the throne? Could this kid be the one who would dominate a decade as his two most notable predecessors had done?
Johnny Miller was playing almost flawless golf. His swing was pure rhythmic beauty and his accuracy was amazing. As he teed it up for the third event of the year, the Tucson Open, many had him as a guarded favorite to at least be high on the leader board with all the momentum he'd been building. On the last day of the tournament his forty foot birdie putt on the tenth hole put him in the lead for good and he cruised to a three stroke victory over then rookie, Ben Crenshaw.
By the end of 1974 he had been that dominator that people were wondering if they would see. He led the PGA in earnings for the year by a wide margin and won Player of the Year honors without any doubt. Then it happened. Instead of working on the inner understanding of the game to remove those areas which would later cause him problems, Miller tried to build a better physical specimen. He developed muscles that restricted the free flow of his swing and all but destroyed the impeccable rhythm that had brought him his victories. He failed to realize that golf comes not from without, but from within. In time his game eroded to where he became an also ran in the pack and watched as Nicklaus again emerged as the dominate golfer for the decade.
Many people feel that physical acts will help them to become favored in God's sight and therefore allowed entry into His heaven. They feel that being a "good" person and attending church will make them Christians. If that logic is followed one could contend that being a good swimmer and spending a lot of time in the water would make a person a fish. If that strikes us as being so absurd then why can't we see that becoming a Christian on our own is just as foolish. We can't change what has been the dividing wall between us and God with actions. "For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation." Ephesians 2:14 Only by coming Christ can what is within us change so that what we do is right in God's sight.
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