When I was 15, I wanted to be a professional golfer. I was pretty good for a freshman in high school, but the jump from “pretty good teenage golfer” to “make a living on the course golfer” proved to be a substantially larger chasm than I anticipated.
I’ve had the joy of watching some close acquaintances successfully make that leap, and this year my friend Craig Bowden actually qualified to play in the PGA Championship in St. Louis, Missouri. As a bonus, my brother-in-law got to stand-in as his caddy. It’s rather surreal to watch people you regularly hang out with loosen up on the range between Tiger Woods and Jason Day prepping to take the first tee at one of golf’s four Major Championships.
But that’s not the point of this story.
It was a blistering August day as we made the early morning trek from Indianapolis to St. Louis, joining 60,000 other fans following their golf heroes around Bellerive Country Club. In case you’re wondering, that’s a lot of people to squeeze in between the ropes. It didn’t take long for us to find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation.
As we walked from the second tee down the hill toward the fairway, we ran into an enormous collection of our fellow human beings. Three different holes converged into one bottleneck, and hundreds of spectators pushing in four different directions were all melting into one immovable mass of pedestrian traffic. We literally couldn’t move, and the toxic mixture of extreme heat and humidity, involuntarily pushing, and tournament volunteers barking orders into the crowd was starting to create a panic.
For a moment I actually feared things could get ugly. So when I saw two grounds crew work carts come through a nearby gate and begin slowly moving into the crowd, I grabbed my daughter’s arm and pushed our way in behind them.
“Put both your hands on the bed of this cart and go wherever they go,” I told her. “They’ll get us through.”
And so we did.
The colliding throngs miraculously began to part, and just like a running back in behind his lead blocker, we found our way through. Actually, it wasn’t our way at all. We just followed the one doing what we were incapable of doing for ourselves.
I felt the Lord whisper, “that’s the perfect image of the way I want you to live your whole life – following me – grab on, let’s go.”
So many of us feel like we have to make a way for ourselves, so we spend our days manically pushing into this crowded world trying to find our way through. And many of us are frustrated, panicked, striving, living as if the weight of this life is all on our shoulders. All the while, Jesus is right there whispering, “grab onto me, follow me, I’ll do what you can’t do, I’ll clear the way – my way.”
That is the beauty and the difficulty of the Gospel. It requires humility. Even if you’re a leader, you were made to follow.
Grab on, let’s go.