Arnie Palmer’s Roots – Christ Church at Grove Farm

Arnie Palmer’s Roots

By Dave Brewer —–

Almost everyone knows the story of the King of Golf- Arnold Palmer. He is a legend in western Pennsylvania, and throughout the world of sports. He was known for his go-for-broke style of play, his late charges to victory on the closing holes of major tournaments, and his amazing humility and ever-present smile. Thousands of fans, known as “Arnie’s Army,” followed him from fairway to fairway during his tournaments. He always returned to his home at Latrobe Country Club several times a year where he grew up under his father’s teaching as the club pro. When he was interviewed shortly before his death, he said something profound, “Home is not where you are from, it’s who you are.”

This profound statement describes the importance and the impact of our roots for the Christian. I have lived in my hometown for almost all of my life, and like Arnie, my father is my hero. But that is not the true source of my identity, it is the biblical roots of my world view. For Christians our identity is rooted in the beauty of the Old Testament, the amazing unfolding of God’s plan of redemption, the adventure of following Christ as your Savior, and building your life consistent with his design. Our hometown can be changed by land developers, eroding industry, and new schools. And we are often dispersed to far- away states apart from loved ones and childhood friends due to employment. But Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

All of us are familiar with the children’s story of The Three Little Pigs. They left their parents to start life on their own. The first pig built his house of straw, and the Big Bad Wolf came along, blew his house down and ate him. This pig was like the person who builds his life without God, and when the challenges and tribulations of life arise, his life falls apart, often in self-destructive ways.

The second pig built his house of sticks. It too was weak, and the Big Bad Wolf tore down his home and destroyed him. This is similar to the person who pays lip service to God. He goes to church with his family and goes through the motions, but fails to develop a biblical world view. He fails to apply biblical principles to his own life and marriage, and fails to teach them to his children. Relationship fray over a period of time, and children are gobbled up by the cultural distortions, unable to discern the wolves that are in sheep’s clothing.

Both of these foolish pigs made fun of the third pig who was working hard to make his home strong out of bricks. They were busy playing, singing “Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” They ignored his warning, “I’ll be safe, but you’ll be sorry when the wolf comes to your door.”

When the Big Bad Wolf came to the house of bricks he could not destroy it, and it endured his most cunning and ferocious attacks. When he finally resorted to going down the chimney, he fell into a boiling cauldron of soup that the wise pig had placed in his fireplace. The wolf ran away and left the wise pig to search for easier prey.

Young people and young couples need to build their lives on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. All other ground is sinking sand, which will not endure the storms, temptations, and challenges of life.

Married couples need to make their marriage a three-way relationship with Christ at the center. They need to have the wisdom to make church attendance a priority in their lives so that they grow in their faith, and so that their children learn biblical truth. We are called not just to Christ, but to Christian community, so that we have the blessing of Christian relationships and fulfill the call to be involved in the redemptive work of the Church in the brokenness of the world.

For every pro golfer who makes it on the pro tour, there are thousands who fail. There is a
cost to becoming successful. Arnold Palmer did not become great by being lazy, he spent endless hours practicing on the driving range, and playing the same courses that he had played hundreds of times. All the hard work, the repetition of tens of thousands of putts, enabled him to make those pressure putts that won seven majors and vaulted him into the Golfer’s Hall of Fame.

In the same way, for every healthy, happy marriage, there are thousands of mediocre marriages, or marriages where the flame of love has flickered out and resentment simmers. You cannot have a solid marriage, and children who will be able to discern between the true and false values and lifestyles of our culture, without investing time in studying how to build your marriage and your family on biblical principles. Jesus said it this way, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them
into practice is like a wise man who build his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundations on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the steams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matt. 7:24

If you would like to learn about building your marriage and family on biblical principles, consider the new Sunday School class for adults starting Jan. 29th entitled, “Building Your House on the Rock.”

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