Brian and I were babysitting our grandsons in Georgia on Friday evening when the phone rang. It was Dan, “Hey, is dad there?”
I handed the phone to Brian and the next thing I knew, I was married to a twelve-year-old who had just learned there was a new bike under the Christmas tree with his name on it, and it was Christmas Eve!! Dan had an extra ticket to “The Masters” and had offered it to Brian.
Of course Brian would have to get up at 4 a.m. in order to get to Augusta in time, but that’s OK, he couldn’t
sleep anyway. He would walk six or seven miles during the course of the day, in the hot sun, but that’s OK, it’s Augusta National, the world’s most beautiful golf course! And he’d have to navigate thick crowds, but that’s OK, he’d be with a few thousand of his best friends (fellow golfers) spending the day with his son.
The invitation to attend “The Masters” was a dream come true for Brian; it was a check off the bucket list.
After it was over, and Brian was telling me all about it he kept saying the same thing over and over, “It was more than I expected!” The azaleas were prettier, the grass was greener, the terrain was hillier, the pimento cheese was tastier, and the peach ice cream sandwiches were amazing!
He also said, “I kept thinking how much you would enjoy it! I wanted to share everything with you.”
Augusta National Golf Course and “The Masters” sounds nice, but it doesn’t hold quite the fascination with me. I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed it… I do enjoy golf courses — the flowers and the manicured fairways and greens; if you just didn’t have to keep interrupting such a beautiful walk to slap a little white ball around with a club! And, let’s just say that before Saturday, I didn’t know peach ice cream sandwiches existed, and today it’s difficult to stop thinking about them. While going to “The Masters” is not on my bucket list, if I had received an invitation and a ticket, I would’ve gone because of its beauty and to spend the day with Brian.
If only the people we invite again and again to our Bible studies and churches were as excited to receive those invitations as Brian was to get his phone call. We want to share the things we enjoy with the people we love, but do you know anyone who has your Bible study, or your church, on his or her bucket list?
For Brian, yesterday was a little piece of heaven. He was invited into a part of the world that only a few people get to visit. He’d heard about it, he’d seen pictures of it, he’d read books about it, and now he has visited it. Augusta National did not try to impose itself onto Brian, Brian was invited in.
Maybe there’s something to that. Everything Brian knew about “The Masters” and Augusta National was lovely and gracious, yet the reality far exceeded his expectations. What do your friends know about your Bible study? Or your church? Or your faith? What impressions have you given?
Sometimes I try to tell people how my faith, my study, my church or my Savior will change their life! That’s all well and good, unless they really like their life, then why would they want to change a thing? Too often, I try to impose my faith rather than expose it.
We are exposed to “The Masters” and the beauty of Augusta National every April. We are provided a glimpse of the beauty that is Georgia in the springtime; who wouldn’t want to go?
Perhaps if we presented Jesus in all his glory, people would want an invitation to meet him. Perhaps if we presented God in all his majesty, and his Word in all its beauty people would want an invitation.
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
The sun rises at one end of the heavens
and follows its course to the other end.
Nothing can hide from its heat.
The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right,
bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
giving insight for living.
Reverence for the Lord is pure,
The laws of the Lord are true;
each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold,
even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
even honey dripping from the comb.
They are a warning to your servant,
a great reward for those who obey them.” — Psalm 19 NLT
Have you forgotten how beautiful God is? Who needs to hear all the glorious ways in which he reveals himself to you each day? Does your life proclaim his glory and his goodness? Will you invite your friends to come into his marvelous presence?
The people in your sphere of influence are watching you. You may be the only vision of God that they will ever see. Your life may be the only sermon they hear. Are you exposing them to a glorious God — one for whom they would miss sleep, walk for miles, and press through crowds just to be in his presence?