Players, coaches & teachers

By Jennifer Thomas

If you are a golf fan, then you were probably watching, or as I saw on Facebook, attending the PGA Championship this past weekend. Our family has attended several tournaments over the years, even the Ryder Cup in 2008 when the U.S. Team won! There is nothing like being there in person.

My son, Blake, started playing golf at a young age and he was instantly hooked. He dreamed of playing on the PGA tour someday. His love of golf didn’t take him to the course, instead it led to a journey from the cart shed to the pro shop to running tournaments, and then he found his sweet spot, teaching & coaching. He is now a PGA Certified Teaching/Coaching Professional. (Proud mom here)

He recently attend the Wells Fargo Championship and was able to be on the driving range with the players, putting coaches, swing coaches and other teachers. When I asked him about his experience, he was more excited to see, watch, and talk with the coaches and the teachers. Not that it wasn’t fun to see the players up close, but he wanted to watch and learn from those who helped the players fine tune their skills, helping them to improve their game.

We can follow a players career and their social lives on social media to learn more about them. They all have teachers, swing coaches, putting coaches, and performance coaches that help them to fine tune their game. Like a golf teacher, a golf coach is someone who is very knowledgeable about the game, but, unlike a teacher, a coach’s goal is to get that individual to compete well and hopefully win. A coach is there to help overcome the adversity of competition

Consider this with me, the disciples, the players, and their coach and teacher, Jesus Christ. When they said “yes” to following Jesus, they had to show up, listen, and practice what they were learning. Jesus provided them with guidance, knowledge and encouragement. But, they also needed experience to go along with that knowledge. So, for three years, they walked and talked with Jesus.They watched Him live and love along the way. He instructed them in the ways that lead to salvation and life. Jesus said to them,

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17

They struggled at times to understand everything that was happening and yet followed His instructions, asking lots of questions and getting it all wrong sometimes. But, during that time they were fine tuning their skills and preparing for the time when Jesus would say to them,

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

We don’t play on a golf course, but we are the Kingdom players on the course of life. Who we follow matters. Who is teaching us matters. We have pastors, Bible study teachers, mentors, and friends that help us along the way. But, we need to spend time on the range – time in the Scriptures and in prayer with Jesus Christ. We need to learn who God is for ourselves and allow the living and active Word of God that is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) to do its work in us. This allows us to get know our God and his love for us so that we are able love him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. In doing this work, we are equipped by the Holy Spirit to love God as we should and also to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Just like PGA tour players need a teacher and a coach to fine tune their skills, we need to spend time with our teacher and coach, Jesus Christ so that we can learn, grow, and fine tune our hearts to His. We need to walk and talk with Him, read the Gospels and see how He lived and loved so that we can live and walk in the Spirit.

Are you spending time on the range with Jesus? Are you training yourself to be disciplined in the practices that fine tune your heart to His? I am asking these questions myself and offer them to you.

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