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It Wasn’t Worth It

March 31, 2013

Recently, I was playing golf on one of the more challenging courses in our area. My partner hit his ball over the water (almost) and it skipped off the surface into the weeds under a foot bridge. From my angle, I could see much more accurately where it came to rest, so I offered to go under and get it. His words to me were prophetic, something I wish I had known.

He said, “Don’t bother Mike…it’s not worth it”.

foot bridgeIgnoring him, I hiked down to the level where I saw the ball settle. Carefully, I plucked it out of the little mud hole it was in. My partner had been skeptical I could get it out, so I was excited to show off my retriever skills. In my haste, I forgot something.

I was under a bridge.

I stood up quickly to tell him I had the ball in the palm of my hand and the top of my head thunked into the bottom of the bridge support; the METAL bridge support. It hardly had any give to it, which is something I can’t say for the top of my head.

As I yelped with pain, I took a step backward and my right leg went entirely into the water.  My golf shoe sunk into the mud quickly and it took all my personal finesse to get my leg out with the shoe still hanging on the end of it. So now I am wet on one side of my body, aching on the top of my head and dizzy from the concussion. I staggered up the incline toward the cart path. My partner came over and asked me what caused my yelping and groaning. When I told him the short, sad story he repeated his earlier comment:

“It wasn’t worth it Mike.”

I ended up with four days of concussion symptoms and on top of it all, I had to buy the world’s most expensive sports socks in the clubhouse. After the fog cleared, I had time to ponder my escapade and something occurred to me. We could use that prophetic statement a lot in life.

We tend to wander through life with very little thought given to how a small action or attitude can affect the rest of our lives. But if you look at the major events of your life, most of them are predicated on a number of very small, seemingly insignificant, decisions.

Proverbs 14:12 capsulizes the essential idea of this:

“There is a way that appears to be right,
    but in the end it leads to death.”

It takes me all of thirty seconds to think of dozens of examples of this. A couple has an extra-marital affair, sharing a few hours of sexual pleasure and, in the end, this tryst can ruin their marriages, livelihood and can even end in death. An hour in a Las Vegas casino may seem like a short period of time, but it can empty out even a substantial bank account. A casual decision to shoplift, a spontaneous lie, an angry outburst in traffic, a rash investment, a one-night stand, a day of playing hooky, a resentment coddled for one day too long; all of these can produce wickedly harmful results, even though they take almost no time to indulge.

What is the antidote to these fast mistakes?

It is healthy to wake up in the morning and say, “I need to be careful out there. Not everything is worth doing.”

It is even healthier to wake up and decide, “I am going to consult God before making decisions today.”

It is healthiest to wake up in the morning and invite God to fill us to overflowing and then to allow His presence to guide all our steps.

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