Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Progressing in a Negative Way

This is a big week, the biggest week of all, for Christians. It’s Holy Week, the time when we focus on the Passion of our Lord and hopefully make some strides in our relationship with him.

This is also a big week here in Augusta, Georgia. It’s Masters Week. The Masters Golf Tournament, which began life as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament, has been played at the Augusta National Golf Club every year since 1934 with the exception of three years during World War II. It is the only PGA event that is held at the same course every year. We have had the good fortune to attend the tournament each year since we moved to Augusta in 2003. I don’t play golf and I’m not even a big golf fan, but the Augusta National is one of the prettiest places on earth and I enjoy being there.

Each year the Fellowship of Christian Athletes hosts the Augusta Golf Breakfast at Warren Baptist Church. Debra and I attended the event this morning. The featured guest speaker was PGA Tour Player Fred Funk. In an interview format, he did a nice job of talking about his life in golf and the role of his faith in it. One of the points that came up was that this year Funk, who turned fifty in June 2006, became one of the few players to win a tournament both on the PGA Tour and on the Champions (Seniors) Tour in the same year.

As Funk was talking about the effects on his golf game of getting older, he used an interesting phrase. He said that his body was “progressing in a negative way.” I’ll be forty-nine in September, and I know what he’s talking about. As we progress in years, our bodies do have a way of experiencing some negative changes.

I couldn’t help but think about what the Apostle Paul said: “Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure…” (2 Corinthians 4:16b-17). While our bodies are progressing in a negative way as they move toward their inevitable return to dust, our spirits are progressing in a positive way as they move toward their eternal home with God. That positive progression is happening every moment of every day.

So, when we look in the mirror and see a few more wrinkles or a few more gray hairs or a few less hairs, let’s remember what is going on in our spirits. And let’s be encouraged!

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