Friday, August 5, 2011

Baddeley, Woods, a Crowd, & Jesus

Yesterday, I spent half of the day at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio for the Bridgestone Championship (which is part of the World Golf Championship). I was there with a friend of mine, Todd Provost. Todd was my youth pastor when I was in High School and then later we worked together at a church outside of Chicago. He has been a friend over the years, and I am grateful to have a few hours with him (and honestly, it is always entertaining).

We spent most of our time on the course following Aaron Baddeley. He is friends with Todd and seems like a really good guy. It is always fun to see a player on a golf course have fun with the crowds. There was one time when Aaron hit his tee shot a bit left, something that would normally leave a guy frustrated. Just after that, from behind us, we could hear a little boy ask his dad, "Dad, who is that?" His father replied that it was "Mr. Baddeley." Then the son, who couldn't have been more than six years old said very loudly, "good job Mr. Baddeley" as only a little kid could do. That brought a big smile to Aaron's face. You see, Aaron is a pro golfer, and a really good one. But more than that, he is a Christian. He has been vocal about his relationship with Christ over the years. In fact, you can see his priorities even from his twitter profile, "Christian, Husband, Father of 2 little girls, Pro Golfer..." Of course, anyone can say those things, but from what I have been told by Todd, he means it.

It was fun watching him, but that's not what I learned. Let me explain. He started on the 10th hole, which means that his last hole of the day would have been the 9th. As he was coming down his finishing hole, Tiger Woods was teeing off of the 1st hole. Yes, that Tiger Woods. The one who hasn't played in several months. Quite possibly the most popular player on the PGA Tour. And this is his first tournament back from injury. There is one thing about Tiger Woods, he brings a following with him. There were so many people in the crowd that it was difficult to walk. On Thursday. The first day. His first hole. It was just crazy.

As I looked at the crowd, I couldn't help but to think of Jesus walking through the crowds in His day. If you have been to a golf tournament, you know what I am talking about. This is what it would have been like. Thousands of people walking along trying to catch a view of this person. Yesterday it was Tiger Woods. A few thousand years ago, it was Jesus. In Jesus' day, people did anything they could to follow Jesus just so they could get a look at Him. Remember the story of Zaccheus?
"Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way." (Luke 19:3-4)
How did Jesus respond to Zaccheus, as a person in the crowd? You probably know how the story goes, He wanted to spend some time with him. That's because as Jesus saw the crowds, he saw people! He didn't see the forest, He saw the trees. He saw the tall, the short, the skinny, and the not-so-skinny. He saw faces. He saw expressions of hurt. He saw emptiness. And what He saw didn't move Him to disgust, it moved Him to compassion.
"When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd." (Mark 6:34)
"Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest." (Matthew 9:36-38)
Thank you Aaron. Thank you Tiger. You surely didn't know it, but yesterday you reminded me that we are called to the people of the crowd. For they are people who need Jesus!

What do you see when you see a crowd?

1 comment:

  1. I liked your story and how you related it to Bible stories. I found the pic on google as I was looking for pics of a crowd for my Sunady School lesson on Zaccheus. Thanks

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