As I boy I remember asking my Dad why he didn’t play more golf. Now we were by no means well off, but there was a little public course that he would go to every once in a blue moon, so I knew he enjoyed it. His answer to my question stuck with me. He said that while my brothers and I were playing sports he was putting golf on hold. You see I come from a family of four boys who loved to play ball and there were a lot of games… I mean a lot of games. We played a variety of sports from when we were young and played into high school. My dad was always such a quiet, supportive presence at our games. He offered a bit of coaching when asked, and was there to be our eager water boy. After games that we lost he was always so encouraging that it never felt like it was our fault that we didn’t win. The sad thing for me was that those leisurely years of golf never came for my Dad. Time and sickness took a toll on my Dad’s health and he is not able to walk long enough to play a round of golf.
My Dad chose early on to put others first. Paul writes in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” This is the call of God on a believer’s life and this call was modeled by Christ when He went to the cross. Christ put others first when He died for the sins of those who would place their faith in Him. As Christians we seek to live like Christ and what better way to emulate the life our Lord lived, then by selflessly serving others. For my Dad, part of what it meant to live like Christ was to sacrifice for his boys. To travel near and far, sitting in the hot and cold and wet weather to watch his sons kick or throw or bat a ball around.
The thing is it never seemed to bother my Dad that he could not get out to play a round of golf. In honoring God and serving others my Dad was living as he was meant to, and in that comes much joy. And though my brothers and my days of playing sports are numbered, my Dad’s days of watching sports continues to go strong as he hobbles out to the fields to watch the grand kiddos play… and his cup overflows