From confirmation to graduations, I am honestly growing a little weary of the never ending smorgasbord of open houses and parties. I haven’t made them all – sorry if you are one of those – but I’ve tried to make a bunch. It’s good to celebrate accomplishment, it’s good to anticipate what’s next. Graduations mark just one of the many fresh starts God gives us in life – and fresh starts matter.
Something that you may not know about me is that I was a collegiate golfer – yes, all four years of college. You’re impressed I can tell. But, before you get too impressed, you need to know that I learned to golf the summer before going to college and made the team because I had my own clubs – this was one of the many benefits of attending a small private college in central TX. I still remember the first tournament I played – it was at a cliff’s course in San Antonio. I had to walk 36 holes the first day – up and down the hills, carrying my own clubs. I’ll save you the details and just come out and tell you – I shot a 137 on the first 18. That’s pretty much double par – and to make matters worse – I had to go out and play another 18 that same day. When I finished my 36th hole on the first day of my first tournament as a newly minted collegiate athlete, I can remember the conversation with my coach while coming off the 18th green. I was tired and completely over the embarrassment of my game. To be honest I was just glad it was finally done. He asked what I shot on that 18 – “better” I told him with a sheepish grin, “113.” We both knew that this could go down in history as the highest score posted over 36 holes in collegiate play, but he paused, and said; “Amazing, I don’t think anyone else came close to taking that many shots off their score from the first round.” We both gave it a good laugh and joined up with the team to head for dinner.
Along with learning that I would never be a professional golfer, I learned an important lesson that day. Fresh starts matter. Wether it’s from one round to the next or from one job to another – we always have the opportunity for a fresh start. I’m excited for our recent graduates – they are getting a fresh start and moving on to the next chapter of their lives. But what about the rest of us? Are we out of fresh starts? Do we have to go back to school or start a new career to experience the same joy and expectation in our lives? I don’t think so.
God gives us fresh starts everyday. While some may be more significant than others, all illustrate the opportunity we have to move beyond our past. Just because we believe in Jesus, doesn’t mean we aren’t going to struggle with sin. We will mess up. We will hurt people. We will act selfishly. Instead of letting these sins pile up and enslave us, God forgives us. He gives us a fresh start and sends us out to try again. Don’t let the mistakes of your past dictate the trajectory of your future. 2 Corinthians 5:17 declares “the old has passed away and the new has come.” Accept the fresh start that God is giving you today. Fresh starts matter – now let’s see how many shots you can shave off that last round.