Drawn by Deficiency

golf1.jpg The story is told of a golfer who was having a bad day on the course. At the last hole, he had had it. His language was fierce. He threw his clubs in the water and screamed, “That does it, I’m going to quit!” His surprised caddie asked, “Are you really going to quit golf?” “No,” he said, “I’m going to quit the ministry.”

Perhaps this helps explain why I do not golf. I don’t need any more help in losing my temper. There are plenty of other ways that I can look foolish so another one is superfluous.

In fact, it seems that I am particularly blessed with forces that work together to humble me. If I am ever tempted to think that I’m something extraordinary, I’ll pull something demonstrating that not only that am I ordinary, but perhaps even a little bit below that.(“sub-ordinary?”) If I try to ignore it, I have several people whose mission appears to be making sure I don’t.

I marvel at those who perceive themselves faultless enough to develop arrogance. Their faults are either so few…or so successfully ignored…that they can imagine themselves to be a cut above their fellows. Judging from past experiences, I don’t think that’s going to happen to me very easily. I’m humble and proud of it!

One positive result is that I have learned how to apologize with the finesse that only comes from a lifetime of practice. Perhaps my purpose in life is to give others an opportunity to learn forgiveness. You know, seventy times seven and all that.

It’s easy to forget that workers in the kingdom are ordinary people doing strange things (foolish – 1 Cor. 1:21). They might not want anybody to know it, but they are as easily tempted as anyone else. They are just as fault-filled and foolish as the general population. They too can fly off the handle and throw their golf clubs into the water hazard.

But Christians are different in several ways. First of all, we resist temptation. We pray, “And lead us not into temptation…”[1] and we mean it. Secondly, we seek personal reformation…a putting off of the old self[2]…a laying aside of old practices.[3] When we give into temptation we seek forgiveness in the confidence that God will cleanse the penitent sinner. What an amazing God! [4]

When I studied psychology in school, I marveled at how many (other?) unstable people had chosen to major in the subject. They understood the need because they had it. Perhaps the same thing is true of ministry. We are drawn by our deficiency. Perhaps awareness of our fallibility draws us toward serving the one who has made a difference in our lives.

[1] Luke 11:14

[2] Ephesians 4:22

[3] Colossians 3:8,9

[4] I John 1:8


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