Rae stood at the black rope lining the edge of the fairway watching as the final group of celebrity golfers finish the practice round of the Christmas Charity Tournament. Rae stood among a group of one hundred fifty attendees whose heads revolved back and forth as their eyes followed each of the four golf balls flying towards the green surrounding the 18th hole. Rae inhaled deeply and smiled at the faces of the anxious teens from the local Boys and Girls Club who clutched the event brochures provided by the host country club. The kids excitedly awaited the Meet and Greet reception that followed the practice round where they would receive autographs from their favorite golf professionals playing in this event. The event would provide scholarship funds for kids to attend a golf academy in Florida next summer.
Rae was not only happy for the kids she chaperoned at the event, but she looked forward the the raffle drawing that would announce the winner of the Caddy to the Pros auction. She felt today would be her day to get exactly what she wanted for Christmas, to play caddy to golfer Candy Tee. Her dreams the night before gave her reason to hope that she would be the winner.
Rae lounged on a chaise in a forest of tall pine trees that reached for the sky filled with stars that danced above her head. The calm seventy degree night air provided an occasional breeze that played with the fringes on the blanket she used for a light cover. Rae closed her eyes to enjoy to stillness of the night and had just begun to drift off to sleep when she heard a loud knocking sound. She opened her eyes and looked around, but saw nothing other than the trees gently swaying to and fro. She closed her eyes again and began to drift into a light sleep. She dreamed that she was standing in a bunker raking the sand in a pattern of rippled waves. As she pulled the rake towards her, she discovered she had raked up two golf balls. When she bent to pick them up, she was startled awake by beam of light that shone down from the sky through the tops of the trees. “What in the world?” she whispered. Rae quickly rose from the chaise lounger, draped her blanket over her left arm, and began to search the sky to locate the source of the light, when she heard a soft voice whisper in her ear, “Good evening, Rae.”
Rae awoke with her heart racing, but smiled because she felt her dream was a sign that her raffle ticket would be drawn at today’s event.
“Rae, you look nervous,” Sophia observed as she approached Rae standing near the entrance to the entertainment pavilion. “Aren’t you having fun?” The fifteen year old asked.
“Yes, Sophia. I’m having a great time. I’m just ready for the winner of the Caddy auction to be announced.”
“Why would you want to be a caddy? You will have to carry the bag of some stuck up pro, clean up their messes on the course, and you will probably get sunburned from being out in the sun all day.” Sophia frowned and she listed all the reasons Rae should not want to win.
Rae smiled, touching Sophia on the arm, “You’re right, those are unpleasant responsibilities of a caddy, but being a caddy is much more than that.”
“Not from what I’ve seen,” Sophia snickered.
“Well, being a caddy is like being part of a team. You get to help the golfer get ready for a successful round by checking out the course before the tournament begins. You get to check out yardages to help the golfer identify ideal targets, landing spots, and hazards to avoid. Caddies provide mental and moral support as well help the golfer stay focused.”
“Oh. I didn’t know all that was involved in being a caddy.” Sophia looked over Rae’s shoulder with wide eyes and exclaimed, “Look, they are getting ready to announce the winners!”
Rae turned and held her breath as the announcers began calling golfers’ names and their caddies for the opening round of the tournament.
This story is the first of the “Parables of the Secret Christmas Wishes” stories. The dream in the story was similar to one I had recently and I woke up wondering how we could apply the job description of a caddy to our Christian walk. I was amazed at the parallel of the role of caddy and the Christian.
At http://www.allaboutcareers.com/careers/job-profile/golf-caddy, the job description for golf caddy reads something like this, “Part of the role is menial – carrying the bag, cleaning the ball, raking the bunkers, replacing divots and holding the flag are all basic caddy duties, but the real skill in caddying lies in helping their golfer to determine the distance to the pin, in advising them on club use and informing them how their game is holding up, as well as how they think it could be improved.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 teaches us to encourage each other and build each other up. What better way to build each other up than
- Helping our family, friends, and neighbors with what appears to be menial duties like raking leaves for the elderly or disabled, grocery shopping for the sick, or wrapping gifts during the holidays for seniors who suffer from arthritis.
- Providing scriptures for new Christians who need instruction about how to deal with situations that arise, welcoming new church members by inviting them home to share a meal, or reaching out to grieving friends during the holidays (often this is simply holding their hand while they mourn their loss).
- Allowing someone else to plan a party or Bible study lesson and participating with enthusiasm, providing encouragement with positive feedback when someone else takes initiative to lead a discussion or make a suggestion, or offering to read a Christmas story or sing carols at the local nursing home.
There are countless ways we could encourage and build each other up. The lesson here is to start and the holidays is an excellent time to begin.
As you go about preparing for Christmas, I hope you will consider these verses from a poem by one of my favorite poets, Edgar A. Guest. He says,
How to be cheerful, do you say
When the wind is cold and the skies are gray?
How to be cheerful? Just one way,
Forget yourself for a while today.
Never mind self and irksome cares.
For someone else greater burden bears.
Never a joyous hour is known
By the man who thinks of himself alone.
How to be cheerful?
Share yourself with
your neighbor here!
Encourage the weary and comfort the sad.
You will find more joy than you’ve ever had!
Christmas blessings to you and yours!