“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us….” (Hebrews 12:1)
Every April since 1934, golf fans have enjoyed The Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia at the Augusta National Golf Club.
There is nothing extremely special about Augusta although it is a lovely town. I once lived there for a summer while in college. Back then I was not as interested or as knowledgeable about golf and I did not realize the folklore of Augusta National.
For nominal golf fans like me, Sunday is always the best day of the tournament. Only the golfers on top of their game for those four days make it to the leader board.
Several years ago at The Masters, Jason Day and Adam Scott both of Australia and Angel Cabrera of Argentina all shared the lead at the 16th hole. At the 17th hole, Jason Day missed an important shot and lost the lead. Then it was between Angel Cabrera and Adam Scott. The two made some incredible shots through the last two holes and ended in a tie. They would go to a playoff to decide the winner.
On the first playoff hole, they tied again. On the second, Cabrera missed an important putt by inches. Adam Scott must make the putt to win. He did and with it won the 2013 Masters!
Golf is almost unlike any other sport in that fans rarely follow one player and only cheer for just him. Golf fans appreciate the game and cheer every player who plays the game with skill and determination. This was evident at the Masters on that Sunday. As Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera were making key shot after key shot, the fans were cheering with enthusiasm. One grown man gave another grown man a hug after one exciting shot. They are truly passionate about excellent golf.
As Adam Scott sent his putt to the hole for the win, he raised his arms in victory. The television camera showed the large crowd behind him cheering exuberantly. These were not necessarily Adam Scott fans. These were golf fans. They most probably play golf, know how difficult it is to play with such precision, and appreciated the skillful display they just witnessed. They also, in some way, felt they were a part of this victory with the winner. It is a shared experience.
As I was watching and cheering along with them, this reminded me of Hebrews 12:1 which says in part, ““Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us….” Those who have gone before us as disciples and followers of Christ are now witnessing the works of God on earth in us. I cannot help but think that in some way they are cheering us on to be victorious in Christ! They are sharing in the joy with us as we all focus our attention on the One to be praised – Jesus.
As you are loving and serving in Jesus’ name, think of the witnesses in heaven who may be watching and cheering you to bring honor and glory to the only One who deserves it – Jesus the Messiah! Continue to use this as motivation to persevere day after day in service to the Master.
William “Carey” Northington of One Master Ministries in Xenia may be contacted at OneMaster.org.