Scott Jones – Gilbert Campus Pastor
Have you ever seen something that made you do
a double take? You know, one of those things where you find yourself saying, “What just happened there?” I had one of those recently when I was watching The Masters. Did you watch it? I get it you may not like golf but there are certain sporting events that everyone should watch regardless if you play or like the sport. The Masters is one of those. Why? Multiple reasons. First, Augusta National is not only the most well manicured golf courses in the entire world but one of the most well manicured properties on the planet. That in and of itself is a reason for me to watch because I love order, class and beauty. If that’s not enough for you, consider the best players in their field gathering to compete at one of the finest settings known to man. And then there’s announcer Jim Nance. We should all watch certain sporting events just to witness such a class act!
But none of these were what captured me at the 2015 Masters Tournament. If you watched the tournament you undoubtedly were blown away by the play of Jordan Spieth. At 21 years of age he played the best round of golf in the 81-year history of the tournament. At one point he was 19-under par and by the time his Titleist Pro V1x dropped into the cup on 18, he tied Tiger Wood’s record at 18-under. To say that his play during the tournament was impressive would be a gross understatement. But that’s not what impressed me.
In fact, what impressed me most wasn’t what happened during the tournament at all. It was what happened after it. Once the final putt is made there is always an instant moment of exuberant celebration. After Jordan shook the hands of his fellow players, hugged his caddie and greeted his family he started to take that long walk toward the clubhouse as all champions do. And that’s when it happened.
As he started to walk I could see his father, Shawn say something to him but it was inaudible. Suddenly, Jordan did a 180, walked out onto the 18th green and applauded the gallery for their support. In that moment I began to tear up. Because I knew I had witnessed something special. Something special between a father and son. And something that each of us can learn from. Shawn Spieth must have said something to remind his son not to miss this moment to express his gratitude. I rewound and replayed that exchange a number of times. In fact, I replayed it more then any golf shot of the entire tournament.
It was clear, that in all of the excitement Jordan wasn’t thinking about the thousands of people that had cheered him on during his pursuit of victory. And it was a gentle reminder from his father that allowed him to capture a very special and important moment. As I watched that and reflected on it and there were two simple takeaways for me.
1. We should never stop learning from others.No matter how good you are, how high you climb, no matter what level of success you have achieved there is always something we can learn. We never have everything covered, never have everything dialed in and are never really finished in our growth. Jordan Spieth is one of the best players in the world and had just won one of the most coveted championships in all of sports but he was humble enough to take a cue from his father and capture a moment that might have otherwise have been missed.
The humility to learn is one of the signs that we are still growing spiritually.
Scripture reminds us to always be in learning mode. Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15) The most painful times in my life have been when I was too prideful to listen and learn from others when they were trying to help me. And on the flip-side, some of my greatest seasons of growth have been when I have leaned in and received what someone who loved me was telling me even though it was hard to swallow.
2. We all need someone who has our back. Jordan Spieth had won the Masters. He had executed on an epic round of golf that granted him the title. He had every right to walk to the clubhouse and claim his green jacket. And in the midst of all of the hype and surreal emotion, it would have been easy for him to head off without another thought. But someone had his back. His father who had watched his son for 21 years, just watched him play for 72 holes was now watching him in a defining moment. He was there to make sure that his son was not only a champion but also a gentleman.
Do you have someone like that in your life? Someone who can nudge you, encourage or challenge you in the midst of intense seasons of your life or incredible seasons of success? We all need someone who has our back to make sure that our blind sides are covered and that we are mindful of what is happening around us. We all need someone in our life to remind us to be grateful and appreciative of who helped us get where we are today.
A wise man once said, Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)This is obviously a strong argument for the power of community. When we gather with others in a Life Group and other settings where spiritual formation is encouraged, it becomes clear that people in our circle have things to teach us that are not immediately intuitive.
Having others in our life is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of wisdom.
Only fools go at life alone. And the sooner we let go of those cryptic ideas of individualism the sooner we will enjoy success in our personal and professional lives. Sure, you and I will probably never win The Masters. Check that, I will never win the Masters. Maybe you’re the next Jordan Spieth. But in this game of life that we play, maybe we can master more of it by being humble enough to learn and watching each other’s back.