THE EYE OF THE TIGER

There was a voicemail on my phone Monday morning when I got into the office.  “Hello, Pastor Mark, this is Tiger Woods and I really don’t appreciate you criticising me on your television program.  Don’t you have anything better to talk about?  Oh, I have an idea why don’t you talk about Jesus for a change”  CLICK!

Wow, I guess Tiger didn’t like my joke.  It goes like this in case you missed it.  What’s the difference between a Cadillac Escalade and and golf ball?  Tiger Woods knows how to drive a golf ball.  Good thing I didn’t tell my other one.  What do Tiger Woods and a baby seal have in common?  They both know what it’s like to be clubbed by a Norwegian.  Actually, that one is cruel…to the baby seal.  Tiger on the other hand deserves everything he has coming to him. 

I told a few benign jokes about Woods.  Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette totally thrashed him in a brutal article about Woods.  He said, “Tiger Woods is a man whose life is built around greed and a ruthless, monomaniacal obsession with winning. No wonder he’s obsessed with acquiring mistresses. The man has always had everything he ever wanted. Who is going to tell him no? When I read about Woods, all I see is stories about when he’s going to return to the PGA Tour, how he’s going to rehab his image (as though it’s all about image and nothing else) why he’s likely to come back better than ever. No one mentions that this was one twisted, greedy human being….”  Well, after that he just got plain mean. 

Woods has shown himself to be an shallow and selfish individual.  He will rarely sign autographs for his fans, will do anything for money from selling cars to cell phones,  and yet gives little back to the world that has made him countless millions (He does have a charitable foundation but almost all of the money it gives away is raised from others).  However, it is the revelations of his habitual infidelities that are the most disturbing.  In retrospect he never really tried very hard to conceal his string of mistresses and was seen in public with them on many occasions.  It’s called entitlement.  A sub-consciously held belief that one somehow deserves privledge and is not held up to the same social mores as other lesser mortals.  The pharaohs, kings and emperors of the past and the CEOs, rock stars, movie stars and sports superstars of today all suffer from the disease of entitlement.  King Solomon admitted he had the illness.  Ecc.2:10 10  “Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure...”  Solomon in his wealthiest moment, was in his most bankrupt state of mind.  He came to the place where he lamented, “It was all vanity and grasping for the wind…therefore I despised my life.”  I place Woods in the same category.  Whatever the eye of the Tiger desired, he took. 

Of course it is not entirely his fault.  We idolize people like him, put them on a pedestal and require nothing in return but to watch them perform like circus animals.  He’s a liar, a cheat, a bad husband and poor example of a father but all you hear is, “When is Tiger coming back, the Tour needs him, he is such an amazing golfer.” 

I really did get that voicemail.  And, yes I know it was actually an angry Tiger Woods fan that thinks, that of all people, a preacher shouldn’t be picking on the poor misunderstood Tiger Woods.  I’m sorry, I do not feel the least bit of pity for Woods.  The scripture says “…surely your sin will find you out”…or in Tiger’s case “Shirley your sin will find you out.”   Now, I really do hope he learns from his folly and comes to a saving knowledge of Christ.  Without Christ not one of us are one ounce better than him.  Which brings me to my real point.  When are we going to learn what Jesus said, “You shall know them by their fruit…” in other words, do not be taken in by peoples gifting and talent.  We all need to be measured by our character not our talent. 

 When are we going to get this?  Bill Clinton philandered around his entire presidency, took advantage of young women in his employ, and the American voter shrugged and said, “Well at least the economy is doing well.”  The principle here goes for everyone of us.  We are only as good as our character and morality.  How good a golfer, or surgeon, or preacher we might be is irrelevant if there is nothing more behind the us than talent.  When we stand before our Creator and hear the words, “Well done good and faithful servant,” it will have everything to do with our character, integrity, and faithfulness and nothing to do with our golf handicap.

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