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Eulogies: by Pete Davison | by Bobby Clampett
Articles: Golf Week.com | Golf Week Magazine
I first met Dick on the road at some driving range during a tour event in 1982. He gave me a Cleveland wedge that I used for years on the PGA Tour. In fact I can still remember holing a bunker shot over there on #9 in the tournament after I first got it. Dick's love of people and soft sell approach became his trade mark that made him a favorite among Touring pros. He was always willing to serve, but never gave the hard sell. His professionalism was an extension of his caring and warm personality.
During the last few weeks of his life, Dick and I had two wonderful occasions to talk on the phone. I closed our first conversation with a prayer, that brought us both to tears. They were not tears of sadness, but rather tears of joy and hope. "The doctors and nurses don't know my Master," he would tell me. " If God calls me home, I'm ready; but it might not be my time."
I last talked to Dick while returning to the hotel from our last show at the Kemper Open. I was so into our conversation that I got lost and tried to correct with another wrong turn onto some obscure street. I didn't care, I just wanted to talk to Dick. Finally, after about 20 minutes I asked Dick, is Bethesda south of Rockville? He knew exactly where I was and told me to head north on Rockville Pike until the intersection of Democracy, then turn left and you'll be home. "Now do you know where youˆre going?" he asked me. "Yes, I'm back on track!"
Dick said many meaningful things to me. But with a sense of urgency in his voice, he told me he had a message for young people. "Dick", I asked, "how do you define young people?" "Younger than me", he bounced back. "I want young people to listen to what I have to say, Don't wait until your in the last innings of life, like I did, before you decide to get on track with God. Do it now, right away." "I want young people to know the blessings of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It's changed my life!"
Now, I'm not a preacher but like Dick, I know of the personal impact making a decision for Jesus has had in my life. I made such a decision when I was 24 years old and it remains the single greatest thing that has ever happened in my life. In honor of Dick and his message for young people, I want to share with you how to enter into a personal relationship with God.
I never grew up in the church and when I first started really reading the Bible when I was in my early 20's, my eyes were opened to a loving God, who desired to have a loving relationship with me as He does you. Jn 3:16 for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
But there's a major problem, the God who loves us is also a God of absolute moral perfection and justice, upon which my relationship with Him is based. And I am imperfect, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Rom 3:23
And because God is a just God, He has created a home for those who are declared righteous in His eyes. This eternal home is called heaven and it's a perfect place. But here lies the problem, I can't go there because I am imperfect and heaven is perfect. If I were to go there it would be like dropping one drop of cyanide in a clear glass of water, I would contaminate the whole place. Heaven wouldn't be perfect anymore with me there.
So God did the only thing possible to satisfy this dilemma. He sent Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, to die on a cross and pay the penalty for my sin. God substituted Christ's perfection for our imperfection through Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. "FOR CHRIST DIED FOR SINS ONCE FOR ALL, THE RIGHTEOUS FOR THE UNRIGHTEOUS, TO BRING YOU TO GOD. HE WAS PUT TO DEATH IN THE BODY BUT MADE ALIVE BY THE SPIRIT." 1 PETER 3:18
God satisfied both His love and perfection, thereby making a relationship with Him possible. "In this is love, not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (satisfactory payment) for our sins." 1 Jn 4:10
We can have a relationship with God because of the provision (the gift) He has made for us, in sending His son to die on the cross for us. But a relationship is never one-sided, it requires something on our part. A gift can never be given unless it is received. God has provided us with His gift in Jesus Christ, but we must receive that gift.
Accepting God's gift involves admitting the truth about ourselves, that we have failed to measure up to God's standard of perfection and are thus separated from Him. For the wages of sin is death (eternal separation), but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Accepting God's gift also involves transferring your trust from yourself to Jesus Christ. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name." Jn 1:12
Have you ever heard of the Frenchman, Blondin? He was a famous 19th century tightrope walker who successfully crossed Niagara Falls a number of times (an 1100 foot span, 160 feet above the raging waters). On one occasion Blondin pushed a wheelbarrow across. He then turned to the crowd and asked them if they believed that he could put someone in the wheelbarrow and push them across. They all cheered! Then he asked the penetrating question, "Does anyone believe enough in me to get in the wheelbarrow and cross Niagara Falls with me?" Noone volunteered. Finally, Blondin's manager climbed on his back and they crossed the great falls together. The crowds belief was purely intellectual, but Blondin's manager went beyond intellectual assent to personal trust. That's the decision that Jesus Christ wants for us to make for Him, to not just sit back and cheer, but to go beyond intellectual assent to personal trust.
There may be some, as Dick would say, young people here today who have never received God's gift and never made a decision to go beyond intellectual assent to personal trust. I made such a decision when I prayed a prayer 16 years ago. In a minute, I'm going to pray a similar prayer and give you the opportunity to receive God's gift and transfer your trust to Him, to climb into God's wheelbarrow. Some of you have already made such a decision, please use this prayer as a recommitment of your life to Him.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, I need you. I acknowledge that I am imperfect, a sinner and that my sin has separated me from you. Forgive me for the wrongs I have done that have grieved you. I willingly commit my life to you and ask that you to begin a new work in me. Jesus, come into my heart now and make me into the person you want me to be. Father, I place my trust for my salvation in you, not in my own works. Amen.