Devotional

“ Golf… is the infallible test. The man who can go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only God is watching him, and play his ball where it lies, is the man who will serve you faithfully and well.” – P.G. Wodehouse.

Golf is an interesting sport, but too often devoid of joy. Golfers get frustrated with their performance. How can you enjoy yourself when you hit the ball thin, fat, top it, skull it, chunk it, slice it, hook it, or shank it, most of the time? It has been calculated that the amateur golfer is three consecutive bad shots away from madness. Their first shot on the 3rd green is a chunked driver that goes 50 yards.  You brush it off and then hit a fairway wood equally as bad, followed by a iron straight left into the woods. That’s it. Storm clouds begin to swirl in your mind, your mood darkens, gloom beckons. You’re helpless in a harsh and unforgiving universe, filled with the desire to throw your clubs into the nearest body of water. Then the people playing with you tell you to “take a mulligan.”

Oh yes, the mulligan. A mulligan is a do-over, a second chance, a freebie, a shot that does not count against your score. Sometimes people play with a mulligan per side, sometimes it seems there are unlimited mulligans. Mulligans make the game so much easier, especially when you end up taking more mulligans than strokes that day. God is the Lord of mulligans as we see in the Bible. God called out to an overzealous Pharisee named Saul who openly mocked God’s Son and hunted down His people. On the road to Damascus, the Lord said to Saul, “How about a Mulligan, Saul? I’ll even give you a new name.”

What about taking a mulligan in your married life? I believe every couple should take a step back and look at their marriage and really be intentional about improving it. But improving it often means giving your spouse a mulligan. God meant for the union of marriage to be a good thing but sometimes we don’t know how to handle the strains and pressures of life.  When the disappointments, storms, and even the mundane sweep through our homes, sometimes we just don’t know what to do.  Our human nature is to place blame. But if we want to better our marriage this year, let’s be prepared to give the occasional mulligan. Hit the reset button and re-start.

The gospel message of grace is a prime example. 

Christ says to all of us “how about a mulligan? I’m not about to give up on you. If you have any doubts about that, just look at the Cross.” Because God has been so tender with us, we can be tender with ourselves and others. Peter declared in 2 Peter 1:5-7: “And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. Is it difficult to give out mulligans in marriage? Why or why not? 
  2. What mulligan could you give your suppose this week?