I grew up in a strong Christian family where both of my parents, and all four of my siblings, loved the Lord. But for me, it was a different story; it seemed like Christianity was just a bunch of rules you had to follow. If you followed the rules, you were rewarded; if you didn’t follow the rules, you were punished. It just wasn’t my thing. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God, but moreso, I didn’t want to believe. I had a flawed picture of God and I soon realized just how wrong I was.
I have always loved the game of golf. Both of my older brothers played so, naturally, I was drawn to the sport. It also helped that I found success in the sport. In fact, by the time I was a freshman in high school, I had verbally committed to play golf at my dream school: the University of North Carolina.
Early in high school, I became enamored with winning and success. It wasn’t because I loved the joy that came with success on the course, but because I loved when others knew about my accomplishments and validated my golf ability. In other words, I found fulfillment in impressing others. I was missing the whole point of why I play golf.
It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I learned what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus; that being a Christian doesn’t just mean following a bunch of rules. Instead, it means accepting that we are all sinners and that Jesus died on the cross for you and for me.
As I matured, I came to realize that Jesus didn’t put me on this earth to play golf, but to be a disciple. As Christians, this is our purpose: to be a disciple and make more disciples by telling others about His unconditional love. I just happen to be a golfer so that I can use my platform to point people toward Him. We live in a broken world where there are no certainties. The only thing that is certain is that Jesus loves us, and no matter what we do, that will never change.
Likewise, I have also come to understand that no matter how successful you are at golf, how famous you become, or the amount of money or friends you have, that nothing on this earth will bring lasting fulfillment and happiness. Don’t believe me? Listen to one of the greatest athletes to ever live: Tom Brady. In an interview, after winning his third Super Bowl, Brady said, “There’s times where I’m not the person that I want to be. Why do I have three Super Bowl rings, and still think there’s something greater out there for me?”
Tom Brady is a man that seemingly has it all: money, fame, success, children and a beautiful wife. Yet, he still feels unfulfilled. He’s a prime example that there is only one thing that brings lasting fulfillment and happiness, and that’s a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Of course, entering into a personal relationship with Jesus doesn’t guarantee you won’t have a bad day; believe me, I’ve had my fair share. However, it does mean we will always have the hope of a better day: the day we get to see our Lord and Savior face-to-face.
Our culture likes to pedestalize athletes, celebrities and world leaders. Yet, we are all the same in the eyes of God: sinners who are in desperate need of a savior. It may seem like these people have so much but, in so many cases, they are lacking it all. As believers, we have so much more than they would ever know.
Growing up, I played golf and lived my life to impress others and glorify myself. Not anymore. Today, I do everything for an audience of one. I play golf and live my life for the one who gave His life so that I could have it all. I was not born a golfer, but a child of God – sent here to point others towards Him, so that like me, others could be saved. Although golf is one of my passions, it is not my identity. My identity is found in Jesus because without Him and His grace, I am nothing.
– Peter Fountain
Peter Fountain is a high school golfer who has verbally committed to play at the University of North Carolina.