“How can a game have such an effect on a man’s soul?”
Seven Days in Utopia
“You will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way.”Follow it whether it turns to the right or to the left.”
Seven Days In Utopia is a movie that has been on my Netflix list for quite sometime. Saturday evening, Jim and I made time to just sit down, sit still and watch this movie. From the opening to the ending we were pausing and rewinding back to hear a line. It was an excellent movie about life, our purpose in life, God’s purpose for our lives and what really matters in life. Needless to say, I had my notebook in hand and was taking notes!
In the beginning of the movie, Luke is a pro-golfer who is at the last hole and has a melt down. Due to the nature of his meltdown, his dad/caddy walks away from him. Thus, afterwards, Luke does what we all want to do when we melt down, he runs away.
In the process of his running, he comes to a town called, Utopia. It is on his arrival he meets Johnny Crawford whom he finds out later in the movie was once a pro golfer that had walked away from the game. Johnny says that he can help Luke with his game if he is willing to stay seven days in Utopia. Luke takes him up on his offer.
It is in Johnny’s instructions that he not only teaches Luke how to improve his golf game but he teaches Luke about Life. For example, the first morning on the golf course, Johnny asks Luke why he grips the club the way he does. Luke shrugs his shoulders and pretty much says it is the way he has always done it. In other words, he was asking Luke;
“Why do you do the things you do? In finding a good game, you have to find some conviction.”
“If you don’t have conviction, one simple comment can affect your game and ruin your confidence.”
“What is your foundation?”
Johnny hands Luke a journal and tells him to go home and write why he does what he does. In other words Johnny wants Luke to seek the depth of his soul and find the true Luke not the Luke that his dad, golf, or the world wants him to be.
There are times in our lives where God throws us a journal and ask us to do some soul-searching. Most times these moments happen when we least expect it. Or, these moments could happen during an illness and/or a life changing event. The questions that Johnny asks Luke apply to each one of us. In other words, God wants us to be still and listen to his still small voice within. We must look deep within our souls and seek what makes our true foundation.
Johnny takes Luke up in his plane. Johnny begins to teach Luke how to fly the plane. Without Luke’s knowing, he turns the engine off. Johnny tells Luke he has to land this plane. Luke starts to panic. But, Johnny tells Luke just as in life he has to take control. As Luke gains control of the plane, Johnny laughs and starts the engine back up. He says to Luke;
“You can’t play unless you are ready for the unexpected.”
How many times does the unexpected happen to us? I know for Jim and me the unexpected has happened more than once in the last couple of months. Yesterday, I sat in the doctor’s office and heard the doctor tell me that I had shingles and I was contagious. Therefore, anything I had planned for the next ten days has had to be scratched. Though life has thrown its share of punches to Jim and me lately, we have control because we know God is in control. He is our foundation that holds up during these moments of the unexpected.
My favorite scene in the movie is when Johnny and Luke sit down to dinner with friends gathered in. Those gathered around this table take each other’s hand. It is Johnny’s prayer that spoke volumes to me. He teaches in his prayer to see and be thankful for what we have and be aware of other’s needs.
How many times do we get so caught up in ourselves? We complain about having to change plans and yet there are people who are wandering around out there that would love to be able to make plans. How many times do we complain about the food that is served to us and there are many out there who would love to eat what we have before us? Each night we lock our doors and some set a security alarm but think about the many people who don’t have a door to lock or a security system to set. Instead, they never know their fate. Someone can come in the night and take their lives away. In other words, what we think are problems are minimal to the big picture of our Father’s world. It is so important to praise God in the midst of the struggles that life hands our way.
“For food in a world where many walk in hunger.
For faith in a world where many walk in fear.
For friends in a world where many walk alone.
We give you thanks, O Lord, Amen.”
Luke finds Johnny sitting in the cemetery with a hole dug holding a box. Luke ask Johnny what he is going to bury. Johnny tells Luke he will soon find out. Then, he ask Luke;
What’s going to be on your epitaph?
Johnny explains to Luke that God is all around us. God is inside each one of us. He is that still small voice that is talking to us and leading us. Johnny says to Luke;
See God’s face (he is all around us)
Feel his presence. He is all around us and in us.
Trust his leading.
It is at this moment Johnny gives Luke two pieces of paper and a pencil. One piece of paper Luke is to write down all the things Luke has learned about life while in Utopia. He is to write down the truths of life when it comes to relationships, character, faith, integrity. He explains to Luke that God has a purpose and calling for his life far deeper than getting that little white ball into that cup on the golf course. Johnny continues to explain that these truths will become his new heartbeat and his foundation for life.
Truths. What truths have we learned about life, relationships, faith, character, and integrity? Maybe we need to write down the lessons life has taught us in these areas and allow these truths to become our heartbeat. It is when we acknowledge the truths of life and acknowledge God as our foundation, we receive new life.
On the other piece of paper, Luke had to write down all the lies he has been told all of his life. In other words, did the golf scores state who he was and what was his self-worth? How many lies of the world had Luke bought into and allowed them to define his purpose?
It would be good for each of us to sit down with a sheet of paper and write down the lies we have been told. The lies from the world that tells us if we have this house or this car we have arrived! The lies that if we are not busy 24/7 we are not worth anything. Our identity is what the world says we need to be instead of listening to our Father and hearing what his purpose is for our lives.
Once these papers were complete, Johnny says;
“Take the truths with you.
Bury the lies.
Once you bury the lies, chisel your living epitaph.”
Each one of us need to do this. We need to take the truths with us and bury all the lies. In this process, we chisel our living epitaph. We define our true purpose/calling that goes beyond anything that the world could ever tell us. It is how we live our lives out loud that show that our foundation is with God. We demonstrate our integrity and what/whom we truly believe.
Luke goes back to play his first tournament since he had his melt down. Of course the media makes a big deal out of this. We intensely watch the tournament. It gets down to the winning hole, and this last putt will determine if Luke wins or not. Yet, we do not see the outcome. I love the words of Johnny:
“What does it matter?
How can such a game have an effect on a man’s soul?”
How does life have an effect on our soul. Does it matter if we make that putt. In other words, in the end does it matter how much money we have in our bank account? Does it matter what kind of car we drive? Does it matter where our status is in the world?
What really matters is how we stand on the foundation of Jesus Christ.
What really matters is that we:
Seek God’s face in all that is around us and all people we encounter.
Feel his presence. Take time to be in God’s presence. Allow him to fill us up with the holy spirit. Be aware that God is everywhere we go.
Trust his leading. There are going to be times when God is going to nudge us in a direction with which we are not comfortable. Yet, it is in these moments where we have to trust his leadership. After all, he is our creator and he knows our purpose.
“How can a game have such an effect on a man’s soul?”
In the days ahead, know that what we do does have an effect on our souls. What we do also has an effect on those who are watching us live our lives. In other words, SFT!
I highly recommend you watch Seven Days in Utopia. It is a wonderful movie for the entire family and there are many more lessons for us all in the movie. Jim and I give it two thumbs up!