I was scheduled to play a competitive match against another golfer, so I was focused on being focused. Then the pro shop put another single golfer with us, which is perfectly fine. Except.
My partner’s first question was whether I minded if he played music on his big speaker. As politely as I could, I told him that in fact I did mind. Not the best start to building a friendship. It soon became obvious that my friend really needed his music or he was not nearly as good of a golfer as he imagined in his own mind, so after every bad shot (of which there were many) he uttered some sort of expletive, each one growing louder.
My new friend was playing expensive Titleist Pro V1 golf balls. He lost two of them in two holes, and he became even more upset with Jesus. We searched far and wide but, alas, they were lost.
After nearly four hours together, he asked me what I did for a living. I had been waiting for this moment. As soon as I told him I was a pastor in a local church there was this very awkward silence. He asked me which church, and when I told him he suddenly became very interested in our location and history. What a transformation!
On the final hole he hit his ball well behind the green and we thought it landed in a parking lot. But, as we drove toward the area we saw a ball lying on a cart path. I jokingly said he should go check out the ball because perhaps someone had found one of his expensive lost Pro V’s and left it for him. He walked over to it, picked it up and returned to the cart with this strange smile, saying, “You are going to like this. It is a Pro V1. Read what it says.” He handed it to me and I saw that someone had inscribed it with green felt tip ink and the words, “Jesus Loves You.”
I could not have laughed harder or louder. He offered me the ball. I said, “No, I think that is one you should keep. Because it’s true.” He put it in his pocket. The rest is up to the Spirit.