Tiger Woods!! He has re-climbed Mount Everest of golf. He won The Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia this past Sunday. Our Pastor and his family, a long time friend, my wife and I were just preparing to leave the restaurant we had dined at after church when another friend texted me: “I can’t stop crying…so happy for Tiger…he’s about to win it.”
It so happened that the BBQ restaurant we were at had the tournament on. I was able to watch the last hole, his victory roar, and him hugging his children and his mother. My eyes teared up. Later that evening when I was able to watch the replay of the round, I too shed tears watching him with his children.
I’ve had the experience of watching our son win events and win championships – in high school, as an amateur and as a professional athlete. Having him hug us after winning his titles and championships was always special and there were always tears in my eyes if not running down my cheeks as well. I know what it takes to be a champion. My son also went through back surgery when competing and came back to win more titles/championships afterward. So yes, my tears were those of a parent who knows what it is to re-climb Mount Everest.
Tiger Woods!! As I sat watching the replay that evening, pleased for the man who had clawed his way back from the edge of nowhere, I thought: Fifteen Majors victories, 81 victories, an incredible stretch of 281 uninterrupted weeks as number one in the world, an incredible 142 consecutive tour events without missing a cut, and impossible as it is to imagine his last Majors victory, he played 90 holes with a broken leg and bad knee – and he won.
But, as I said to my son the day after Tiger’s triumph: “I’m proud of Tiger, I thrilled for him and what he has been blessed to do. It was and is nothing short of remarkable. But, and this is a huge but – if he doesn’t know Christ as his Savior this past Sunday is as good as it will ever be for him.” And that, as I said to my son, “saddens me.”
I’ve always been a Tiger Woods fan. I’m one who has actually watched him win Amateur Championships before turning professional. I’m also one of the people who never stopped pulling for him through all of the difficult things bad decisions brought him. I’m a Christian who has stumped his toe more than once; I wasn’t going to turn against Tiger because he had stumped his too.
However, that doesn’t change the thing that matters most and that is, where will a man whose incomparable God given athletic gift, that has brought pleasure to so many, spend eternity?
As I watched the various Golf Channel programming that evening and that which I had taped the next evening, I listened to all of the superlatives that were spoken about him. I even thought back to the condescending interview Tiger had with pro-golfer and part-time analyst Curtis Strange, who’s smug attempt to embarrass Tiger, in I believe 1997, resulted in Strange having to eat crow and humble pie.
But at the end of the day, or more accurately, at the end of his life the only that matters is where will Tiger spend eternity? I’m not saying this to be pious or to single him out. I am saying it because I genuinely like and admire Tiger.
My God is not a respecter of persons and neither am I. I’m even praying for the Obamas to come to Christ for salvation and repent of their sins. I think about the testimony they could have for the Lord by acknowledging how God had changed their corrupt lives. But, I digress.
God picked me up off the floor the first time when I didn’t know him. And He picked me up again when I backslid from Him. Ergo, the account of the “Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-24” holds special meaning to me. And accordingly, I know what it means to be forgiven.
As we approach Easter and the culmination of events that collided at God’s precise moment and precisely as they had been prophesied about for hundreds of years – it would behoove all who do not know Christ as Savior and even those who think they do – to consider what happened on the Cross and the importance of our “Resurrected Lord.”
With those thoughts in mind, I pray that Tiger Woods, a man whose stunning God given ability has brought pleasure to my life and the lives of so many others for these 25-30 years, would not let this moment in time be the best he will know for all of eternity.
I close with the old adage that says, without Christ as our Savior the best moment of our lives here on earth will be the best moment of lives. With Christ as our Savior, the worst moment of our lives here on earth will be the worst moment of our lives, because we have heaven to look forward to.