Have you ever taken a do over? As a kid, did you ever swing at a ball and miss, and then say “do over, do over?”
When we get older we still do them, we just don’t call them do overs. When we play golf we call them a Mulligan. I was reading how this came to be a part of golf. Of course it isn’t part of the official rules, it is what I call “preacher’s rules.”
History of Mulligan:
It originated with a man from Boston named Mulligan. When he retired and moved to Cape Cod, he took up Golf. When anyone made a bad shot he handed them one of his golf balls and said. “Here, have a Mulligan.” The idea is that you get to have another swing at it.
Have any of you ever said anything stupid and wished you could have a do over? Of course, we all have. The problem is, when it passes our lips, we can never quite call it back.
There is an interesting story where I am sure the two ladies involved would love to have a do over.
Two women finish their shopping and are heading back to their car. In the Car Park they find a dead cat. A recent Road Kill. Being animal lovers they cover it with tissue paper and scoop up the cat in one of their paper shopping bags. They plan to take it home to give it a proper burial.
Arriving at their car they Stash their treasures from the shops in their trunk. It was lunch time and the café was just by the car, they decide to leave the cat with the car. Because it was a very HOT day, they thought it best not to put the cat in the car for fear of the expired feline causing their car to loose that “New Car Smell.” They decide to leave the cat on top of the boot in the shopping bag.
They both take a seat in the café by the window affording them a view of the car and their shopping bag containing the days good deed. Not long into their BLT sandwich, they saw a woman approach their car. Look left and then right and then snatch the shopping bag from the car and walk quickly towards the café.
The “cat-napper” then entered the café and took a seat at the table next to theirs. Speechless from the shock they watched as the thief causally ordered her lunch. After giving her order to the waitress, she nonchalantly, placed the shopping bag on her lap to survey her find.
The two good Samaritans had lost all interest in their BLT’s and were smiling from ear to ear, waiting in anticipation of the reaction of the cat-napper. The single lady removed the tissue paper. Her eyes widened, and she began to make a sort of gasping noise. The noise grew.
The bag slid from her lap as she sank to the floor, wheezing and clutching her upper chest. An attendant called out fro someone to call 911 and proceeded to administered CPR.
A crowd quickly gathered. Our two ladies remained riveted to their chairs for seven whole minutes until the ambulance arrived. In a matter of minutes she was strapped to a gurney. Two well-trained paramedics steered her to the waiting ambulance, while a third scooped up her belongings. The last they saw of the distressed cat-burglar, was her behind the ambulance doors, and the shopping bag perched on her stomach.
I am sure these ladies wished for a do over.
The Bible tells us:
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9)
I must say that sometimes it is discouraging when the things we are trying to do don’t go the way we want them to. Sometimes it feels like we are trying to skate uphill on roller skates. We seem to lose more ground that we are gaining.
I remember when I was a missionary in England. England is not a country where it is easy to be a missionary. Missionaries in many countries can write letters back to their supporting churches talking about all the people that are getting saved. It is not like that in Europe. It is difficult and takes a lot of labor just to get one soul saved. In Europe the mind set is, we tried God and it didn’t work for us. We are on to new and better things. We don’t believe in God anymore, and we don’t need that as a crutch. Besides that, what do I need God for, I have everything I need. I am a good person and everyone is going to Heaven, God loves us all, and Jesus saves.
It seemed like we were attacking a wall that we couldn’t break down. Every time we tried to reach our community and bring them to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, not a religion, but a relationship with the God of Heaven who sent His Son to die on Calvary’s tree and provide a payment for their sin debt, we were met with another obstacle. Every turn was hard. Every time we would hit the wall, it hurt.
When you keep hitting that wall, the wall starts to teach you something. It is teaching you that what you are doing is not working. It is saying we cannot break it down, but we know we must because these people need to be saved.
When you keep hitting the wall, you start letting up just before impact because it hurts. You return defeated and discouraged. You start to feel like you can’t succeed.
There may be something similar in your life. That is the way it seems in the fight for righteousness here in North America. We see our countries turning far away from God and accepting more and more of the foolishness of this world as normal. We continue to surrender ground to the heathen, to the liberals, and even to Islam.
We know we must fight the good fight and stand for God and righteousness, because if we don’t, who will? We keep hitting the wall and experiencing defeat. Every time we hit the wall, it hurts. Sometimes we feel like we just will not succeed.
The Bible says “let us not be weary.” The promise is that in due season we will reap if we faint not.
We need to realize that every time we hit that wall, we weaken it. If we keep hitting it, the wall will one day break and we will get through. We can’t give up. We can’t resign ourselves to thinking it can’t be done.
Let me relate to you an experience I had. Many years ago I was invited to a conference in Mexico. While I was there I spoke in some churches. As a missionary, I had labored in a prosperous country. This was my first experience in a country with real poverty. I had never seen people as poor as these people. Their giving in their offerings to help a missionary reach the British people so humbled me. It reminded me of the churches of Macedonia.
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to [their] power, I bear record, yea, and beyond [their] power [they were] willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and [take upon us] the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. (2 Corinthians 8:1-4)
It was very difficult for me to receive the love gift they had given. The missionary that invited me to this meeting told me not to rob these people of their blessing. Reluctantly, I took the gift, but it really humbled me to do so.
These people had so little, but they believed that they were going to evangelize the world. Oh that we had the faith these people had. I have found that those who have the least, give the most. These people gave sacrificially. I had heard that some them had sold their VCR so they could give. This was one of their prized possessions. When I came back to America, I realized that we are a land with so much, yet we have so little faith.
We can’t give up! We are looking at things wrong, we think it is up to us when it is really up to God. We must do what we do in the strength of our Lord.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)
I want to close with some things from the diary of John Wesley. I don’t know what year this was, but he was rejected by the religious leaders of his day.
From the Diary of John Wesley
Sunday, A.M., May 5
Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore.
Sunday, P.M., May 5
Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said “Get out and stay out.”
Sunday, A.M., May 12
Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either.
Sunday, A.M., May 19
Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.
Sunday, P.M., May 19
Preached on street. Kicked off street.
Sunday, A.M., May 26
Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service.
Sunday, A.M., June 2
Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.
Sunday, P.M., June 2
Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.
How many of us would have given up before the afternoon of June 2nd? We can’t give up, we don’t know what the Lord will do tomorrow.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15: 58)
Let’s not give up, let’s keep hitting the wall.