Sunday, June 19, 2011


Golf Bag, Jamestown, NC

I just finished facilitating an adult Sunday class on the many giants that King David faced in his storied life on this Father’s Day, 2011. The first and most illustrative of those giants was in fact the giant Goliath. And this fortuitous encounter began an illustrious life of one of the select chosen men who found favor in God’s heart and ultimately wrote one half of the 150 Psalms that have enriched the lives of countless people over the past two thousand years. Yet as it turns out, one of the greatest giants of David’s long life wasn’t the neighboring Ammonite enemy armies or the challenges of uniting the twelve tribes of Israel. As we learned in the books of Samuel and Kings, David’s extended family of at least six wives, countless concubines and mostly unknown children were his greatest failure. I suspect if you’d ask David why he did all of this his simple answer would be, “Because I can”. His passive parenting and widespread philandering were his ultimate undoing. This was evidenced by his adulterous affair with Bathsheba, indirect murder of her husband and officer of David’s army, the rape of a step-daughter by a step-son, the subsequent revenge murder of the son by another son while David stood by and did nothing for either of his children, and the overthrow of his rule by a son. In the end, David was being cared for by a stranger when he died because he had made strangers of his own family. Fortunately, it’s still not too late for any of us.

When I returned home from church, I opened the Sunday edition of the local newspaper to see a headline by a staff writer that read, “Golf Bag Stands Tall in Dad’s Place”. The Father’s Day article related this man’s memories of his father including “a thing for Vantage smokes and an addiction to golf as strong as if it were Vicodin”. He did go on to say that his father was “the best man I’ve ever known”. His father had passed eleven years ago. When his family was sorting out all of his worldly possessions, the only thing the author kept was his dad’s golf bag. Over the years he challenged himself as to why he kept the bag, given that he didn’t even play the game himself (I couldn't help but wonder if his father had ever taken him to a course. He had begun to think that the bag was becoming his own Wilson from Tom Hank’s movie “Cast Away”. He stated that he still has no idea why he keeps the bag—but for the past decade on Father’s Day, he retreats to the garage and places the bag in the center of the floor. Later that night, he pours a stiff drink, clenches the bag and looks to the stars with his thoughts and believes he’s not alone. Hopefully, he’s not, but I wonder if his father had a chance for a “do over”, he wouldn’t change a few things so that his only memory wouldn’t end up personified by a golf bag.

I’ve played golf all of my adult life—generally once a week during the season with no serious regularity. And I’ve found the game to be a great stress reliever when I at least play respectably for a week-ender. However, I’ve known fellow players who have found the addiction implied in the news article which had to keep the man removed from his family for a significant amount of time. I occasionally played with a single digit handicapper that didn’t only have time for a family; he was frank about not having time for even a spouse. I remember my Vice President of Operations telling me that if any of his employees ever attained a single digit handicap, he would fire them because he knew how much dedication and time that would take them. If they had that much time to dedicate to golf, they weren’t focused enough on their job or family. Ultimately, life is about balance—professional, spiritual, and family. I’ve observed that when these get out of balance, so does your life.

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