Will You Make the Cut?
The “Open Championship” begins this Thursday from Scotland. You may know it as “The Open” or “The British Open”. It is the grand-daddy of the four major professional golf tournaments, and the only one played outside of the United States.
And like all professional golf tournaments, there is a cut, identifying the players who go on to play the final two rounds for the championship.
But who makes it?
There was a time when anyone within 10 strokes of the leader made the cut. In 1993 Ernie Els struggled in the two opening rounds, but because he finished within 10 strokes of the leader, he made the cut. His final two rounds were much better and he finished in a tie for 7th place.
Then officials ended the 10-stroke rule. They were afraid, someday, so many golfers would make the cut they would have too many people playing in the final rounds. Now, the cut is set at 60, regardless of the scores.
Maybe you have watched second round play on TV and have seen golfers sweat out the cut. No one wants to rejoice when others fail, but that’s what it comes down to.
For the one who makes the cut.
Have you ever wondered where the cut is for heaven? How good do we have to be to make it in?
100,000 sins or less?
10,000 prayers or more?
300 or more batches of macaroni and cheese for the church pot luck?
A tithe or more of our income?
Net or gross?
The list could go on and on.
But it doesn’t have to because none of these things have anything to do with our victory.
The cut is simple, really.
One night the Apostle Paul and Silas, beaten but not defeated, were in a prison in Philippi when an earthquake struck. Paul and Silas could have escaped, but they remained and used the opportunity to share their faith with a jailer. The jailer took them to his home and washed their wounds. While there, the jailer and his entire household listened to the good news of Jesus, came to faith, and were baptized (Acts 16:25-33).
How did the jailer and his household make the cut?
By grace, though faith in Jesus.
Jesus is “the cut.” With Him, we have eternal life. Without Him, we don’t.
This means we don’t have to wait for someone else to fail so we get in. We don’t have to pay any attention to the leader board. Fortunately, we don’t have to be “good enough.” We only need one thing.
Of course, my “Open” metaphor raises lots of other interesting questions.
Who is our caddy?
How do we make par? Birdie? Bogie?
Where is our “out of bounds”?
One good thing: We don’t get penalized for going in the water. In fact, Jesus commands us to do so!
I guess golf doesn’t align perfectly with the Christian walk, though the two do intersect at many points.
I know this because I have heard the Lord’s name spoken on a golf course on more than one occasion.
But that’s another lesson.