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The Expression of Man’s Glory

As someone who pursued civil engineering for a year in college, there is a great sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a project. This satisfaction inspired me to design over 20 golf courses on an old Cad software program. Although I have never been commissioned to design a real golf course, I have images sketched in my mind of what this piece of property will be transformed into when the opportunity arises. Perhaps, this degree of planning explains why God was so pleased with His finished creation on earth.

God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them, Genesis 1:26-27.

Creation is the action and process of bringing something into existence. Based upon the passage above, the Trinity came together to collaborate on this masterpiece. Genesis one provides a day by day summary of God’s progress of transforming an empty wasteland. Upon bringing life to planet earth and the universe around it, God was filled with a sense of joy. Like putting the finishing touches on a Mona Lisa, Creation was completed in six days. Thus, God rested on the seventh to appreciate what was finished.

For a man ought not to wear anything on his head [in church], for he is the image and [reflected] glory of God [his function of government reflects the majesty of the divine Rule]; but woman is [the expression of] man’s glory (majesty, preeminence), 1 Corinthians 11:7.

While reflecting upon Creation, the apostle Paul uses a couple of interesting terms. The creation of Adam is referred to as the reflected glory of God. Meanwhile, Eve’s formation out of a rib from Adam is described as the expression of man’s glory. While these words would be considered chauvinist today, this is how first century men depicted creation. Instead of getting sidetracked by divisive words, each human being who walks the face of the earth is a precious treasure, a reflection of God’s glory.

by Jay Mankus

When Bad Things Start to Happen

According to C.S. Lewis, there are 2 theories which explain why bad things happen to good people: dualism and the Christian view.  Dualism believes there are 2 independent powers, one good and another bad that are in conflict with each other resulting in good or bad things.  The Christian view is based upon Galatians 5:16-18, detailing the cosmic battle between Lucifer and the Holy Spirit.  The X-Factor is freewill as whenever temptation results in a bad choice or decision, the lives of innocent bystanders are at risk.

For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do, Galatians 5:17.

As a former assistant and playing professional, I’ve seen a lot of bad things happen on golf courses.  To the average spectator, the final result is what matters.  However, the slightest gust of wind can ruin a great shot that only the player hitting a golf ball knows.  Meanwhile, an amateur, casual golfer or kid have hit foul balls that glance off a tree, bounce down a cart path and skip over a water hazard, ending up on the green.  Now, that’s a miracle!  Unfortunately, I haven’t seen many of these go my way on a golf course.

For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere, Ephesians 6:12.

One of the hardest parts of life is seeing a rising star’s life cut short due to cancer, a car accident or suicide.  To make matters worse is standing there at a funeral watching parents grieve, grasping to make sense of their loss.  At the end of one ceremony, a mother whispered into my ear, “I pray that the words you taught my daughter in Bible class were etched upon her heart.”  When bad things start to happen, the frailty of life is put into perspective, Job 34:15.  From dust man was created and to dust we will return.  All we can do now is enjoy each day the Lord gives us on earth.

by Jay Mankus

The Final Round

My favorite day of any planned vacation is the first.  Whether you are traveling by air, boat, car or train, the initial day sets the scene for the entire trip.  Additionally, the first day on the beach, in the mountains or on a golf course tends to be the most relaxing.  If you have gone an extended period of time without resting, there is a greater appreciation for time away from work.  However, before you know it, time flies and the end is near.  Dreading the last hours that remain on your vacation, it’s hard to make the most of your final round.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

About a decade about, my parents were in a major car accidents in the mountains of Pennsylvania.  Initially, my mom thought my dad was dead as a ski hit him in the back of his head as they slide off the interstate down the side of a hill.  In an instant, their lives were changed.  I wasn’t sure if I would see him again or get the chance to say goodbye.  During an extended rehab, my father made a full recovery.  Nearly a year later, we played a round of golf together at his club in southern Delaware.  Awakened to the possibilities, I treated this day like it was our final round together.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps, Proverbs 16:9.

In most golf tournaments, there is a 36 hole cut over the first 2 days.  The final round takes place on Sunday where fans gather to see if their favorite player is victorious.  However, as you get older, nothing is guaranteed.  Thus, each time you tee if up, in the back of your mind you should think, “this may be my last.”  Unfortunately, I didn’t have this heightened awareness when I played with Leanne’s father 3 years ago in Florida.  Instead of savoring every last minute, I allowed how I was playing, poorly, to ruin my mood.  In view of Jim’s untimely death, from here on out, I will treat each day on the golf course like it’s my final round on earth.

by Jay Mankus

 

Euphoria and Misfortune

Whether you’re participating in a competition, watching a game or witnessing an accident, emotions vary depending upon the outcome.  Winning elicits smiles, encourages applause and promotes praise from those in the attendance.  Meanwhile, losing can trigger tears to flow, depression to linger and disappointment to reside within heartbroken souls.  Thus, anytime someone experiences euphoria, misfortune will visit those on the opposing side.

So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed, Mark 5:20.

The gospel of Mark contains one of the first exorcisms ever recorded.  Although there isn’t any evidence of this man’s head twisting around like Hollywood’s version, the demon possessed man exhibited super human strength.  Nonetheless, as Jesus performed another miracle, John 21:25, few people recognize the misfortune of this pig farmer.  Two thousands pigs is a lot of bacon, pork and income lost.  Without any warning, an entire life’s savings was gone, floating away like the devastation citizens of Texas are coping with following historic flooding.

Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened, Mark 5:14.

As the summer approaches, the weather will cause business owners to either praise God or curse Him.  Beach resorts are hoping for sunny and warm weekends while farmers pray for rain to water their arid fields.  Though car washes and golf courses long for dry skies, shopping malls wouldn’t mind an afternoon shower to fill up their stores.  Whatever happens, euphoria will come to the victors and misfortune to the defeated as this roller coaster of emotions will continue until your time on earth comes to an end.  Therefore, prepare yourself for every situation with the calming force of prayer, Philippians 4:6-7.

by Jay Mankus

A Caddy’s Life

Having the 2013 United States Open Golf Championship come to Merion, about a 45 minute drive from my current home, brings back fond memories of caddying.  In addition, watching an American Dream, a golf channel special of the life of Lee Trevino, also led me to reflect upon the days I spent working at golf courses.  Nearly one forth of my summers have been invested in caddying in 4 different states and 2 countries.

It all began for me in Chester County, encouraged by a high school friend to introduce myself to the Caddy Master at Concord Country Club in Pennsylvania.  My initial goal was to supplement my grass cutting income.  However, before I knew it, I was working 3-4 days a week, making between $90 and $150 per week each summer.  I still recall receiving my first $100 bill following a member guest, caddying for the Vice-President of Dupont.

From here, I spent 5 seasons at Chagrin Valley Country Club, 45 minutes from downtown Cleveland, Ohio.  Depending upon the weather, I worked anywhere from 2 days a week to six.  Because of the large membership, double looping, going out once in the morning and afternoon was typical, occurring 2-3 times a week.  With Geauga Lake’s Wildwater Kingdom 15 minutes from my parent’s home, I spent nearly every day on a golf course  and most nights at this park.  A college student could not paint a better picture of fun, sun and muney.

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From a life perspective, my manners, people skills and respect for other human beings come from my days as a caddy.  Despite my feelings for the member or guest I was paired with, I was taught to work hard, go the extra mile and keep my mouth shut.  This blue collar position instilled in me a work ethic that I still possess as I start a new career with Amazon.  My prayer is that I will be able to call upon my past experiences so that the prosperity I enjoyed in college will return in the near future.  Before I say goodbye for day, I want to leave you with a parity of the James Taylor’s song Fire and Rain.

A Caddy’s Life

I’ve seen hacks and I’ve seen pain
I’ve seen rainy days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen awful rounds when I could not earn a tip
But I always long to see my pay check

I’ve seen stiffs and I’ve seen fame
I’ve seen bad holes I thought would never come to an end
I’ve seen slow play that would make a snail look good
But I always longed to see that last green

Won’t you look down upon me, Jesus
I need your strength to go one more nine
My body can’t stand on its own right now
My knees are aching and my head is on fire
Please send me your Spirit to complete this last nine.

by Jay Mankus

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