Several men recently hosted Men’s Golf Fellowship events at their Northern clubs. The opener for those invitations read: “You are invited to be my guest at an overnight outing to include golf, food, fellowship, and a discussion about God and life.”
There’s nothing unusual about a golf invitation. We all get and give them. But this one is different. What do you suppose those receiving it thought? How would you react to an invitation like this ? Would you accept? if so, why? If not, why not ? Would it depend on who the invitation came from?
Whatever your answers to these questions, the fact is this would be an unusual invitation for most of us, would get our attention and would require special handling. That’s because most of us have successfully partitioned our lives into safe and predictable buckets: Family, Golf, Business, Church. An invitation like this breaks the rules of our buckets. It forces us into the uncharted waters of golf, friends and personal faith. Should these boundaries be crossed?
Regardless of how you’d characterize the role of faith in your life, the notion of exploring and cultivating it with golf friends is a unique concept. On the other hand, if you really think about it, it’s one of the most natural places for this because:
Who do you consider to be some of your closest friends?
Which have been your longest lasting friendships?
Who do you spend the most amount of time with throughout the week?
Who do you socialize with in the evening?
What group of people do you most look forward to being with?
When someone from that group gets sick, who rallies around them?
Which relationships do you find yourself prioritizing the older you get?
Let me guess, golf friendships run throughout the list above. That’s in our mutual love of the game DNA. Let’s admit it, we have great affection for our golf friends. If so, why wouldn’t we want to bring our best and highest personal qualities into those relationships? If God has the ability to bring out the best in us and enhance those relationships, why wouldn’t we seek that for and among each other? Why does this still seem a bit uncomfortable? Maybe because it’s unconventional.
God loves us. He shakes us out of our comfort zones and causes us to discover and grow with Him in places we wouldn’t ordinarily think logical. Isn’t it just like God to have us look to those with whom we have the most in common? With whom we spend the greatest amount of time? With whom we are sojourners through the last third, quarter or end-zone of our lives? With whom, if we dare to let down our macho facades, we can jointly discover God’s intimate love, presence and guidance in extraordinary new ways? Could opening up in this area with my golf friends make a positive difference in my life and in theirs? Ask God, Is this You inviting me into uncharted waters? Into a different kind of game?
Some golf invitations are different.