Sam Bennett's tattoo and golfing make headlines at 2023 Masters

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Amateur golfer Sam Bennett makes headlines at the Masters with unusual tattoo

April 10, 2023 -

Jon Rahm, of Spain, holds up the Masters trophy as Sam Bennett holds the low amateur trophy after the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, April 9, 2023, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Jon Rahm, of Spain, holds up the Masters trophy as Sam Bennett holds the low amateur trophy after the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, April 9, 2023, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Jon Rahm, of Spain, holds up the Masters trophy as Sam Bennett holds the low amateur trophy after the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, April 9, 2023, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Jon Rahm won a storm-plagued Masters yesterday by playing brilliant golf under pressure, but there is another story I’ll remember as well: Texas A&M amateur golfer Sam Bennett made national headlines not only for playing well in the tournament but also for his tattoo.

His father died of Alzheimer’s in June 2021. Before his death, in a moment of clarity, he gave his son advice that so inspired him that Sam asked his mother to help his father write it down. Sam recalled that it “took him fifteen minutes because we had to show him how to write out every letter.” It was the last thing his dad would write.

Sam had the words in his father’s shaky handwriting tattooed onto his forearm: “Don’t wait to do something.” He said they would “stick with me forever.”

Why a doctor donated her kidney

Over the weekend, this CNN headline caught my eye: “This Chicago doctor donated her kidney to a woman in Virginia she’d never met.” It’s one thing to donate an organ to a loved one or a dear friend, but to a stranger? Why would she do something so altruistic? The article explains that the doctor “decided to donate one of her own kidneys to help increase the level of trust in the procedure and to inspire others to donate.”

In other news, a federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary ruling invalidating the FDA’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. Less than an hour later, a judge in Washington state issued a ruling in another case that contradicted the Texas decision, ordering the FDA to make no changes to the availability of the drug. Reaction was what you would expect: a pro-life senator wrote on Twitter that the Texas ruling was “a victory for pregnant mothers & their unborn children,” while pro-abortion senators and representatives called the ruling “outrageous,” “extreme,” and “devastating.”

As Chris Stirewalt notes in The Dispatch, politicians in a democracy act in alignment with those who elected them so the voters will continue to elect them. This predictably generates liberal rulings in “blue” states and conservative rulings in “red” states. Political leaders promote the self-interest of their constituents so as to promote their personal self-interest.

Behavioral scientists tell us that such motivation explains why humans cooperate with each other in more general ways as well. We pay a personal cost, such as contributing to a charity, to gain a collective benefit such as a social safety net and the approval of those who affirm our altruism.

Sam Bennett’s tattoo honors his father, but it also motivates him as a golfer and a person. A doctor donated her kidney to help a patient she had never met but also to elevate a cause to which she has given her professional life. When politicians serve the voters, they serve themselves.

This system of mutual reinforcement works well so long as it advances moral outcomes. But as our post-Christian culture increasingly rejects biblical truth, the consensual morality upon which our Founders built our republic erodes and the edifice begins to collapse.

How I am being tempted as I write this article

In Either/Or, Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard observed: “How unreasonable people are! They never use the freedoms they have but demand those they do not have.”

For example, Americans have the freedom to choose morality over immorality, but as fallen people, we consistently choose the “flesh” over the spirit. Abortion on demand enables people to have sex outside of marriage without the fear of unwanted parenthood; the sexual revolution legitimizes lust, pornography, prostitution, and sex before and outside of marriage; LGBTQ advocacy redefines gender and marriage to suit personal opinions and desires.

The bottom line is what it has always been: we want to be our own god (Genesis 3:5). As a result, it is difficult to convince people to give up what they want for what they need.

This is just as true for me as for anyone else. For example, my self-interest tempts me to serve God by writing this article in ways that will impress you so you will continue to read my work and support the ministry I lead. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, I am challenged every day to choose what I want most over what I want now.

As a result, I need the power of the Spirit to change my wants to align with my needs. So do you.

“We are the Easter people”

Here’s the good news: the One who rose on Easter Sunday is just as alive today as he was when he first defeated the grave. And now “the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you” (Romans 8:11). He is working to manifest Jesus’ character in us (Galatians 5:22–23) and thus transform us into the likeness of our Savior (Romans 8:29).

Consequently, if we want to sin more than we want to serve God, it is proof that we are not being empowered by the Holy Spirit, for he can only want what is holy. However, if we yield our desires, thoughts, and actions to him, he will enable us to choose what we need over what we want.

Today’s conversation shows why spiritual awakening is so vital to our national future. Apart from the Spirit, we will want what the flesh wants and our culture will continue its slide into moral decadence, decay, and destruction. But when we worship and serve the living Lord Jesus, he makes us the change we wish to see.

Pope St. John Paul II assured us: “There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not already borne for us, and does not now bear with us.” As a result, he counseled: “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

What is your “song” today?

NOTE: Our newest book is now available. In The Path to Purpose: Christ’s Vision for Your Life in the Sermon on the Mount, my son Ryan and I look at Jesus’ timeless wisdom in his most famous sermon. His words offer us a “systematic ethic for how to be his disciples,” a character-forming framework for how to live godly lives. It’s also a reminder that Jesus’ words to his first-century audience are still relevant to us today. I encourage you to request your copy of The Path to Purpose today.

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