1 Corinthians 10: 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
The United States has recently developed a very strong crop of young golfers. A few of them showed their promise early. Jordan Spieth made the cut at the Byron Nelson Classic at the age of 16 and was only the 2nd ever multiple winner of the US Junior Amateur title (the other being Tiger Woods). Patrick Reed was a standout in college leading his Augusta State team to two NCAA championships and he reached the US Amateur semi-final. There was never any doubt that Spieth and Reed would make it on “The Tour”.
Others, however, were less obvious choices for future success. Brooks Koepka developed in the same era as Spieth and Reed, however he did not have the same stellar early results. He did not win a single college tournament until his senior year at Florida State. If he wanted to play on the PGA one day, he was going to have to do it the hard way. Sports writer, Derek Clements explains in an article Why Brooks Koepka will win majors and lots of them: “Anybody who has been following my musings will know that I have been tipping Brooks Koepka for big things for what seems like years. So it has given me some personal satisfaction to see the latest American wonderkid deliver…He has arrived where he is the hard way, pursuing his dreams in such far-flung places as Kazakhstan, Kenya, Norway and the Czech Republic.”
Of note, Clements’ article was written in February 2015, which is before Koepka won back-to-back PGA US Open championships. In reading Clements’ prognosticating in 2015, he felt Koepka would win many majors because of his hard work ethic and his determination to win. Koepka didn’t show up to earn a good paycheque, he was completely focussed on doing what was necessary to win. Not many eyes were on him as he toured “far-flung” places in remote parts of the world, but Koepka worked with excellence in those times, focussed on the prize that lay ahead.
As Christians, we have been created by a God of excellence. Some people fail to realize it, but we were created to work. In the very first chapter of Genesis, the first thing we read about is God working – creating the heavens and the earth. In Genesis 2:15 we read that: “God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it”. The first time we hear of the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) filling someone in the Bible, it isn’t to speak in tongues, or prophesy or heal – it is to do manual labour. 2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. (Exodus 31: 2-5). In Paul’s exhortation to the church in Colossae he said: 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17).
Whatever you do, you are doing for the Lord. If you have decided to be an athlete, you need to be an excellent athlete. That does not mean you need to have an unbalanced life totally consumed by a sport, but it does mean you need to train, you need to study, you need to listen. When coaches, teammates, or fans look at you, they should be saying: “there is a young man or a young lady of excellence”. You don’t take short cuts, you do it all as to the Lord. Be excellent.