A couple of weeks ago Mary and I were able to check one more item off our “bucket list” by attending The Masters tournament in Augusta. Having the opportunity to walk the hallowed grounds of the Augusta National Golf Club with my best friend was exciting and enlightening. We sat at the famed “Amen corner” on Saturday and watched every golfer in the field on holes 11, 12, and 13. On Sunday we were front row on holes 15 & 16 and had the thrill of soaking in all grandeur and majesty of what is The Masters. We are both grateful to the generosity and graciousness of some very special friends in Florida for making this all possible for us.
As in most of life God is constantly teaching me lessons on faith and practice through the normal experiences of life. Here are a couple of life lessons I was reminded of this past weekend.
- A golf tournament cannot be won on one hole, but it can be lost. Defending Masters champion, Sergio Garcia learned this lesson on Thursday. He came to hole number 15 on Thursday and hit a 320-yard drive into the middle of the fairway. This left him with a little over 200 yards to the green of this iconic par 5 hole. From this moment forward the tournament was lost as he hit his next five balls into the water. The sad reality was that he never hit a bad shot, but everyone found its way into the pond fronting the green.
This event reminded me that the same thing is true for all of us. Regardless of our business, family, and relationships, we must remember that one bad transaction can lead to disaster. We can “lose it all” when we fail to take every opportunity in our lives seriously. The next time you have a client or colleague in front of you, see them as the opportunity from God to pour in to them with your grateful heart.
Being on the grounds of Augusta National was transformational in many ways, but perhaps the biggest take-away for me was the way every person working there catered to Mary and me. From the moment our feet touched the ground in the parking lot we were welcomed and catered to by the staff and contracted employees of this place. It seemed that no one was more important than another. All the employees catered to us through their excellent execution of their tasks. Each person in attendance was viewed as a very special client of the Club and they were grateful that we were there.
Even the smallest details were given exacting care.
- Any piece of debris was snatched up and removed in the matter of seconds. Any request made to an employee was immediately addressed.
- Everything at this place was affordable. Our lunch was a total of $13.
- Probably the most noticeable attention to detail was in the bathrooms on the course. Even though there were hundreds and hundreds of people in all the line, there was never an unclean fixture or floor to be found. Those charged with taking care of these facilities were doing so with a happy spirit, pleasant disposition, and servant’s heart. Their immediate attention to detailed reminded me that we can all learn a lesson in caring for and caring about others.
In the New Testament, Jesus teaches us that we are to care for one other in deeper ways. The Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10: 30-37 perfectly illustrates the truth that we are to cater to the people in our lives.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan tells the story of a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, and while on the way he is robbed of everything he had, including his clothing, and is beaten to within an inch of his life. That road was treacherously winding and was a favorite hideout of robbers and thieves. He is seen by three different men . . . A Priest . . . A lawyer . . . a Samaritan (one considered to be an outcast, a low class, and unclean) but the only one of the three that cared about and cared for the injured man. He catered to this man. He dresses the man’s wounds with wine (to disinfect) and oil (to sooth the pain). He puts the man on his animal and takes him to an inn for a time of healing and pays the innkeeper with his own money. He then goes beyond common decency and tells the innkeeper to take good care of the man, and he would pay for any extra expenses on his return trip.
There are three words we should remember as we cater to others.
- Just as God’s love for us is unlimited, so must ours be for others. He gave more than was expected or required. It was generous!
- The Samaritan’s care was unconditional – it was not based on any conduct or behavior, but based on a need. expected nothing in return and that was Gracious!
- His catering was unselfish. He was thinking only about the condition and need of this man. This showed that the heart of this good man was indeed filled with gratitude.
In every area of our life we will choose to operate in transactions or relationships. It is my prayer that we will cater to others with a heart of gratitude. When you do, you will have a more impactful and influential relationship with people.