Tiger Woods is making his return to competitive golf tomorrow, playing in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. He packed his clubs and everything else he would need. And he included a putter that is ancient by today’s golf technology standards: a Scotty Cameron-branded putter he used in thirteen of his fourteen major championships.
If he finds success, we’ll learn once again that success is not so much in the tool as in the person who uses it. This is a principle that applies to every dimension of life, including our souls.
I’ve been reading Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest since 1993. Each year on November 30 I encounter again my favorite paragraph in this classic devotional: “There is only one relationship that matters, and that is your personal relationship to a personal Redeemer and Lord. Let everything else go, but maintain that at all costs, and God will fulfil His purpose through your life. One individual life may be of priceless value to God’s purposes, and yours may be that life.”
Several truths call out for attention.
One: Our relationship with Jesus is the “one relationship that matters.”
Chambers doesn’t mean that we are to ignore everyone but Christ. He doesn’t mean to depreciate those for whom Jesus died. He means that if we keep this relationship strong, all other relationships will blessed as a result.
This rising tide raises all boats. I will be a better husband, father, grandfather, friend, writer, and speaker if I am walking close to Jesus. He can serve others far better through me than I can serve them myself.
Two: I must maintain my relationship with Jesus “at all costs.”
If my relationship with Jesus is the key to my Kingdom service, I should expect the devil and our fallen world to attack this relationship in every way they can. In war, the side that cuts off its enemy’s supply lines usually wins. If I am a power drill connected to a socket, the best way to render me useless is to unplug my cord from its power source.
I’ve learned the hard way that Satan can use distractions and deceptions just as he can use outright deceit and sin. Anything that turns me from Jesus serves his diabolical purposes. In the spiritual life, good is the enemy of great.
Three: My life “may be of priceless value to God’s purposes.”
Our culture doesn’t measure success the way our Father does. As Paul noted, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27–29).
As the old saying goes, God seeks not ability but availability. He could use Mary and Joseph to bring Jesus into the world because they were willing to be used. He could use shepherds to tell the story of Christmas because they were willing to tell the story. He could use lepers and demoniacs to spread the gospel because they were willing to spread the gospel.
We cannot measure the eternal significance of present faithfulness.