"I didn’t know that Mr. Gilbert won the Masters," said a boy in our church. He was talking about one of our deacons winning the Masters golf tournament in Augusta. Let me explain.
The boy’s remark came after I had referred to the famous golf tournament in a sermon illustration. I told the congregation about Doug Ford, who won the Masters in 1957, but has never won it since then. Yet because he was awarded the coveted "green jacket" as the winner one time, Ford has a permanent invitation to the Masters every year. It doesn’t matter that he has not even played well enough to qualify for the tournament since 1971 (four years before Tiger Woods was born). All that matters is that he won it once, and so he has a standing invitation to come.
In my sermon, I explained that God’s grace is like that. To further illustrate, I took off my tan suit coat and put on a green sport coat while I was preaching. Reminding the congregation that the winner of the Masters gets a green jacket, I encouraged people to "put on" Jesus Christ and receive God’s gift of salvation by His grace. As Galatians 3:27 says, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
What does all this have to do with Deacon Gilbert winning the Masters? Well, Mr. Gilbert was wearing a green jacket the day I preached the sermon! Seeing the deacon’s jacket, the boy said, "I didn’t know Mr. Gilbert won the Masters."
What did Deacon Gilbert think of his rumored fame? He chuckled and said, "I may not have won the Masters in Augusta, but I have won the prize from my Real Master, Jesus."
And so can you!
(Copyright 2012 by Bob Rogers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read this column each Friday in the Herald. Visit my blog at www.bobrogers.me.)