Back in 1997 there was a certain young man whose name was on every golfer’s lips. He had spent his childhood and youth being trained by his father and when it was considered he was ready, he then entered into the public life of the professional golfing circuit.
As the winner of that year’s prestigious American Open, he broke numerous records and people bowed down before him as he approached the eighteenth green to play his final putt on the last Sunday of the tournament. He was awarded the trophy and dressed in the coveted green winner’s jacket. His name – Tiger Woods.
Things change and human frailties can cause even the greatest of our heroes to fall from grace. It has taken a long time and most doubt that Tiger Woods will ever get back to being the champion of yesteryear.
On Palm Sunday many years ago, the same type of adulation given to Tiger Woods was given to another man who was also approaching the last hole in his round. He had performed miracles and healed many sick people along his journey to the extent that those in authority were fearful he might upset their control and power. He was duly disposed of. His final hole contained a cross. As he died, the man turned the fear of the thief beside him into love, which was typical of the man’s whole approach to life.
The Nike Company, with their now well recognised “Tick” logo, claims to be the largest manufacturer of sporting footwear and clothing in the world today. I can recall seeing one of their TV advertisements where a lot of young children were hitting golf balls. When asked their names, they all gave the name of their hero, the person they would most like to be. “I’m Tiger Woods”, they each declared.
I wonder how many of us who wear the white robe Christian logo of Baptism and carry the Spirit of the world’s greatest hero in our hearts would be proud enough, if asked the same question, to declare, “I’m Jesus Christ”.
Sporting heroes come and go and ticks on logos will disappear with the clock of time. However, the Spirit of Jesus will be with us forever. Maybe it’s time we Christians allowed the love of Christ to drive away our fears so we might willingly step out on the course we are taking in life and get on with the job of helping God’s kingdom come.