Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The return of Tiger!

I'm not sure if you heard the big news or not! Tiger Woods returned to the PGA tour last week after taking eight months off. Back in June of 2008 he underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left knee, and a double stress fracture in his left leg. I tell you this because all last week the Golf Channel had a countdown clock for the return of Tiger. Up in the top right-hand corner of the TV screen you would see...3 days, 6 hours, 52 minutes, 35 seconds...2 days, 7 hours, 13 minutes, 7 seconds... 3 hours, 15 minutes, 6 seconds... and on and on. It was was the biggest news event in sports. The commentators were so excited that they could hardly contain themselves. They made their predictions, filled us in on what he has been doing since the surgery and questioned everything, Is he going to be 100% when he returns? Has he lost his edge?, Will he finish in the top ten?, Will the birth of his second child effect his motivation? His return was anticipated because of the impact he has on the game of golf. Listen to what a writer for the USA Today newspaper said:

In Woods' absence, TV ratings plummeted for the remaining two of the Tour's four major tournaments last year: down 55% for the PGA Championship, which Woods had won in 2007, and down 11% for the British Open. Irishman Padraig Harrington won both majors in Woods' absence.

In September, BMW Championship ratings were down 61% in the final round from 2007, when Woods won. This year, ratings for the Buick Invitational were down 53% in the final round from 2008, when Woods won.

Most tournaments do not release attendance figures, but the crowd at last year's AT&T National near Washington, D.C., was down 32,000 from a year ago when Woods played there. Officials at this year's Buick Invitational said ticket sales were down 15% to 20% from 2008.

Now, however, Woods could be a one-man bailout for golf's fortunes — or at least for its public relations efforts.

I say all of this to point out that Tiger's return cannot fix the world's economic problems. Tiger's return cannot heal the hurt in peoples lives. Tiger's return cannot heal the sick. Tiger's return can only increase the number of people who watch the game of golf! However, there is coming a day when the Son of God will return. We do not have a countdown clock that tells us when but we do know it will happen. We know that we are one day closer today than we were yesterday. When Christ returns he will take us to our heavenly dwelling place where we will finally be free from sin. A place where we will spend eternity worshiping and praising our God. A place where there will be no more pain, no more sickness, no more suffering. Take a look at the words describing this -

I Thessalonians 4: 16 - 18 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.

Don't make the mistake of getting caught up in what the world thinks is important. Those of you who know me know that I love the game of golf and I watched the commentators talk about Tiger's return, I watched the other players talk about how the game will change when he returns, I watched the reruns of the tournament to see how he played. But there is coming a day when Tiger will no longer be able to save the game of golf, Tiger will no longer be at the top of his game, Tiger will one day fade into the history books. What will those who pinned their hopes on him do? Who will they turn to next? As Believers we place our hope in the one who will save our souls, we place our hope in the one who will never let us down, we place our hope in the one who will reign and rule forever.

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