I have a confession to make. I am a golfist. (No, not a ‘goldfish’, a ‘golfist’). I have been playing for a couple of years now, introduced by one of our church members, and while I am still not very good I do enjoy it. In order to try to minimise the slices, hooks and other mis-hits I try to visit a local driving range so I can keep practicing when I don’t have time for a complete round of golf.
Recently two things have happened that were significant. One is a landmark that I consider to be a major achievement. I played 18 holes of golf and finished with the same golf ball with which I teed off from the first hole. It hid a few times but I always found it! That is a first for me. I feel as if I ought to retire that ball from active service and mount it on some sort of plinth.
The second happened on Saturday at the driving range. I was using the driver (that’s the big hitty one) and hit a fairly decent drive. But as the club head swung through the ball (to use the correct terminology) instead of a ‘ping’ there was a ‘thunk’. I looked at the club and saw that the head had a massive crack in it that ran right across the top. (That’s not supposed to be there, in case you didn’t know).
The driver was part of a whole set of clubs, and as the clubs were only a year old I took it back to the shop where I bought them. I was seriously impressed with the customer service. Without a quibble (admittedly the evidence was right in front of them – a massive crack in a newish golf club) the shop said that they would send it back to the manufacturer and get a replacement. When I pointed out that it was only about a month before that I had bought a new grip (slightly thicker) for the club they said that they would put one on the replacement.
Yesterday morning I had a call from the shop to say that the manufacturer wanted me to return all of the clubs in the set. It seems that they want to do some sort of quality tests on them. They will send a new set of clubs to replace this set. When I pointed out to the shop that I had actually paid for new, thicker grips on all of the clubs they said that they would mention this to the manufacturer and now the manufacturer is also going to send a new set of grips.
Is it something about churches improving their customer service?
Is it something about Christians being properly equipped or fit for purpose?
Is it Henry, the mild mannered janitor?*
Ahem. [tries again]
Is it about that ball which survived 18 holes of my golfing?
You see as proud as I am of that round of golf if I retired the ball at this point it would no longer be fulfilling its purpose as a golf ball. It would become an exhibit in a museum (albeit one that only I would want to visit). The ball was designed to be played with. It was designed to travel from the top of a tee to the bottom of a little hole, propelled by a big hitty stick on other slightly less hitty sticks.
We need to celebrate our achievements. We need to learn from and be encouraged by history. But let’s not live in the past. Let’s not look back to the ‘good old days’ but enjoy what we have now and look forward to what God has in store for us next. Let’s allow Jesus to use us again and again and again. And the good news is he will never lose us!
Be blessed, be a blessing
*Sorry, that only makes even the slightest sense if you have ever watched the intro to the cartoon ‘Hong Kong Phooey’!