Ouch! After 22 years at the same golf resort I got my walking papers. I guess the new owners felt like new faces will bring in new sources of revenue. OK… since this is a spiritual column I won’t tell you what I really think of that idea.
Anyway, I went through the three phases of “Did that really just happen?” “Oh, no, what am I going to do?” and “Just take a deep breath and trust in God.”
The first week of not working was a combination of painting my house and taking phone calls from my members saying, “You were great… what are those new owners thinking?” The next week I filed for unemployment — something I’ve never done before. And now I’m out beating the pavement and doing some teaching up in Scottsdale.
Some guys I know think it’s cool that I can just lounge around for the next six months and collect an unemployment check every Friday. Not me. It doesn’t feel right. I’m a worker and I understand that God expects me to work until my final day on earth (Gen 3.19). Retirement is not in my vocabulary, nor in my future plans.
Even though I am out of work I’m glad we have a God who is always at work. Right now He is preparing a position for me and — knowing Him — it will probably be even better than the job I just left. Matthew 6.33 is a great comfort for Christians.
While God is working on that He will continue His even more important work of drawing people back into a relationship with Him. And I marvel at how “creative” He can be in doing that.
We see Him do it all the time using gifted preachers on Sunday mornings. But He will also use a scene in a movie on a Saturday night. It could happen in the chair of a Christian counselor or out hiking with an old college friend. It might be a beautiful moment like a sunset on the beach or a tragic one like a near death car accident. He may use a weak moment — like Peter saying “I don’t know Him!” or a series of bad choices like David made with Bathsheba.
It doesn’t matter if life has shattered us, or some enemy, or even if we have caused the shattering ourselves. God is big on second chances. It’s nothing for Him to pick up the broken pieces, reposition them, and at the end we get to look back and see a beautiful stained glass picture.
That is who He is. That is what He does. And — thankfully — He never takes a break.
My two favorite sporting events every year happen this week. It’s the Final Four in college basketball and the Master’s Golf Tournament. It’s exciting to watch and these athletes have worked extremely hard to reach their goals. But in the light of eternity it matters little who lifts the championship trophy or who puts on the green jacket.
The work that is recognized and rewarded by God is the work He is doing in us and through us in the lives of others. It is the serious work of God to get us into the Kingdom and to mold us into the image of His Son. And He will use almost any means possible to get that done. Thank you God for being such a hard worker!
• Brad Butler is a PGA golf pro who worships at Mountain Park Community Church in Ahwatukee.