Daily Post: Partner
Tuesday mornings are always filled with dread and anticipation in equal proportions. Partly because of the unknown, but mostly because of what I’ve learned about the Senior Men’s Golf Association at Lake Park Golf Course in Lewisville, Texas. Most of the 80 or so men who drag themselves out of bed at 6:00am to play golf together are older than me. I’m the kid in the group at age 63. I’m reasonably fit, and could walk this course faster than the average round of golf played by any given foursome on Tuesday mornings riding in golf carts. And that’s where this story begins, with “cart partners.”
Since I’ve only been a part of the group for about six months, not only am I one of the youngest, I’m also one of the newest members of the association. Not knowing who I will be partnered with is why I show up with both “dread and anticipation.” Many of the guys will take a cart to the driving range and hit balls before their round, so they have already established their “driver” position in the golf cart. I realized quickly that I could get to know someone easier if I were the “rider” not the “driver,” so I just keep my clubs up by the clubhouse while I chip and putt a little, until we’re all paired up. I’ve ridden with the “Mario Andretti” of the group, the “slow poke,” the “Evel Knievel,” each of these men have a “style” of maneuvering the cart around the course which usually defines their personality, to say nothing of their golf swing.
Let’s be clear, the two people riding around for four hours on Tuesday mornings are more than likely cart “partners” not golf “buddies.” Even though they all know each other, and have played together for years, the competition factor, keeps Tuesday mornings sharp and edgy. Some can’t see farther than 100 yards down the fairway, some can’t hear when you say “it’s your shot.” Some are totally unaware of what the other three golfers in their foursome are doing, while others have no clue regarding the term “golf etiquette.” However, generally speaking, they all get along, and we have a lot of fun… mostly.
Some of these men now know that I retired from being a pastor. Word is getting around. Last week, when one man, who helps run the computer, asked me if this was true, I said yes and his response was classic: “I wished I’d known before I spoke like that a few holes back.” On the golf course, like in many other sports, men seem to feel that coarse language helps them fit in. A couple of days ago, this past Tuesday, I was paired up again with three guys who spoke the language of “sailors” and “locker rooms.” Then one of them asked “what did you retire from?” Here we go again, right? So, there on the 6th tee box, I gave a 1 minute synopsis of my pastoral background. Same response, “well, sorry about the tirade back there…”
Here was my response then, and today, as I write these words…
I am a man, not divine. I have my own issues which may resemble bad language to some, even if they aren’t evident to others. I’m not your judge. So how about we play golf knowing I won’t judge you, and you don’t judge me, for being a retired pastor.
The least verbally abusive of these three men spoke up and said, “You’re not the judge and jury, just the witness, huh?”
To which I replied, “exactly.”
I have a golf buddy who goes with me every single time to play golf. And to the supermarket to buy food. And to the convenience store to buy gas. In fact, everywhere I go, He goes. My life needs to be a witness to Him. And while I know Jesus didn’t say these words to me personally, in my mind He did.
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.
As a cart partner, or a golf buddy, go be the witness.
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