Are You a Putter or a Put-er?

Putting-the-ballYou probably know what a putter is, but you might have some doubts about a put-er. A putter can be thought of as a person who is putting a golf ball, and it’s also the club that’s used to putt the ball into the hole.

A put-er is some one who “puts on” or “puts off” specific characteristics specified by the Apostle Paul:

  • Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man (Ephesians 4:23-24)
  • Put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth . . . and put on the new man of tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering (Colossians 3:8-12)

The Putter loves golf; tries to get the ball in the hole; and, thinks being under par is good.  The Put-er loves the Gospel; tries to stay out of ruts; and, thinks being less than par is bad.

Both have an eagle-like focus.  The Putter scores an eagle when he’s two strokes under par.  When the Put-er puts on the new man, his strength is renewed; he mounts up with wings like an eagle; and, he runs without growing weary.

Putter or Put-er:  Are you one or the other, neither, or both?

Faldo’s Lucky Sweater

fringe-golfDo you know what happened in the world of golf this past weekend?  If you’re a golfer, you know that the British Open was played at Saint Andrews. If you’re a serious golfer, there’s a good chance that you know that Nick Faldo was the last Brit to win the Open.

Faldo had a miserable first round as he shot a tournament-worst 83. He was able to redeem himself with a 1-under score of 71 on Friday, and he credited his success to the advice of his kids:  They persuaded him to wear his lucky sweater.

During his career, Faldo won six majors; three of them were wins at the British Open.   In each of the wins, Faldo was wearing one of his signature sweaters. When he putted for the last time on Friday, his kids had convinced him to wear the same one that he had worn in 1987 and 1990.94ccb640-2ca8-11e5-81b0-336b09534c0d_faldo-sweater

Faldo’s sweater reminds me of my years in the Air Force, and the uniform of the day.  Everyone in the squadron was required to wear the same uniform which was determined by the events of that day.

Like Faldo and the military, there is a uniform of the day for Christians.  Paul described it as the “full armor of God” in Ephesians 6:

  • The belt of truth
  • The breastplate of righteousness
  • The helmet of salvation
  • The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God

armorThe four items above are the uniform that equips us for the events of the day.  Our struggle is not found on a golf course, a baseball diamond, or a football field.  Paul said it is a wrestling match with a powerful opponent:   “This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world.  For this reason, take up all the armor that God supplies (GW).”

Paul knew that a lucky sweater was not enough to win this battle, and he knew that he needed more than just a bullet proof vest. He concluded his list for the uniform of the day by including prayer:  “With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints.  Pray for me also, that I may be given the message when I begin to speak—that I may confidently make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may be able to speak boldly as I ought to speak (NET).”

When you stand in front of the mirror to see how well your clothing fits, review this list to make sure you’re wearing the uniform of the day.

Three Cheers for the Nihilarians

A nihilarian (nick-el-arian) is a person who deals with things lacking importance.  I thank God for the people who are willing to do the tasks that may seem to be insignificant.

Unless you are an avid golfer, you might place caddies in the nihilarian category.  You could have the mistaken notion that all a caddy does is carry a bag full of clubs.  A good caddy is beneficial to the golfer because he knows the course; he can give advice; and, he can help with the mental aspect of the game.

I think most people fail to see the importance of nihilarians.  Because they are willing to attend to the small details of life they keep them from mushrooming into big problems.

This is the case with Robert.  He is willing to stay behind, so others can go ahead.  Each Sunday, he checks to make sure the lights are out, the doors are locked, and only then does he leave the building.

Then, there is the significant role of the ladies who come early to prepare communion and the ladies who work in the nursery–far too often people like these go unnoticed.  I say three cheers for the nihilarians.  Without you, my job would be much more difficult.

Romans 16 contains a list that names people who played this type of a role in the life of the Apostle Paul.  If not for the fact that Paul wanted to express his gratitude for these people, they would be anonymous to  history.

The profound importance of nihilarian-like gifts was emphasized in the teaching of Paul.  He wrote in I Corinthians 12 that  those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.  These gifts and these people are indispensable, necessary and an essential to the health of any church or organization.

Here’s a thought to keep you thinking:  Who is it that makes your life a little easier, and when was the last time you expressed your appreciation to him or to her?  Let the nihilarians in your life know that they’ve been noticed.