This week, golfer Byron Nelson died. He lived in the Dallas area. He was a legend who won eleven straight tournaments in 1945 (a total of eighteen that year). Many refer to him as the father of the modern golf swing. The day after his death, the Dallas Morning News devoted most of the front page to his life. The article began as follows:
"Golf icon Byron Nelson, a man revered for his benevolence and humility as much as his on course accomplishment, died Tuesday at his Roanoke ranch. He was 94."
Everything I have ever heard about Nelson is that he was a good man. Yes, he was a Christian. To him, that made a difference in the way he treated people. People are now paying tribute to this man. His peers call attention to his character and the quality of his life.
Listen to the following people:
"…He was a fantastic person whom I admired from the time I was a boy." –Arnold Palmer
"Apart from being one of the greatest players ever, Byron Nelson was always the epitome of a gentleman." –Ben Crenshaw
"The only thing that rivals Byron’s greatness on a golf course is the manner in which he conducted his life–as a gentleman, a role model and an ambassador." –Jack Nicklaus
"For many Byron will be remembered for his incredible record as a professional golfer, including winning 11 tournaments in a row. But he will be most remembered for the genuineness and gentleness he brought to all those around him. I will miss him, but I will always remember what he taught me." –Tom Watson
"You can always argue who was the greatest player, but Byron Nelson is the finest gentleman the game has ever known." –Ken Venturi
I find this very refreshing. In a culture where selfishness by celebrities is way over the top, it is refreshing to hear of a man who was regarded this way among his peers.
Many years ago, the island of Crete was known as a very rough place. Evidently, many of the people were hot heads, drunks, and basically crooked. (You wouldn’t have wanted to buy a used car at Crete.) One on the island refered to Cretans as "…always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons." Paul wrote concerning the situation on this island. He spoke of special instruction that needed to be given to older men (2:2), the older women (2:3), the younger women (2:4), and the younger men (2:6-8). He even gave instruction to slaves (2:9-10). The instruction was specific and then he lays out his overall vision:
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
I want to remember the power of a good life. It really does matter to God and to others how I live–and how I treat people. I don’t want to underestimate this.