Last week I heard Bishop Sherwood Carthen tell the story of Arnold Palmer.
In the 1960’s, Palmer was #1 in world golf. The King of Saudi Arabia invited Palmer to come, as a guest, to play in a tournament in the Kingdom. He flew Palmer there on a private jet, hosted him in a lush hotel suite, and treated him like royalty.
Midway through the tournament, the King sat down with Palmer for a chat, and offered him a gift. Palmer tried to decline. “You’ve already been so gracious, so generous.” But the King would not hear it. “It’s an offense to reject a gift. In our culture, the host always gives the guest a gift. But what can I give to the world’s #1 golf professional?”
Palmer felt embarrassed by the entire exchange, and suggested a golf club — perhaps a driver or a putter — nothing more.
The tournament ended and Palmer returned to the United States, wondering about that golf club. Perhaps it would be a putter embedded with jewels, or a driver with a gold-plated head. But when a courier came to the door, it was clearly not what he had expected. The package was far too small for a golf club. Not much bigger, in fact, than a large envelope.
Palmer opened the envelope and took out a letter from the King; a letter which included the Grant Deed to a Country Golf Club!
Perhaps this Lent you have already decided what God could or should do for you. It might be just as well if we released such fantasies and prepared ourselves for something quite “outside the box.” His ways are higher than our ways. As we launch into this second full week of Lent, let’s allow Him to set the agenda.
Father, transform me by the renewing of my mind, that I might see things from your perspective today. Grant me the grace to release my agenda and discover yours for me, this day. Amen.