In 1961, as a young boy, I had the honor to walk with my father down the 18th hole at Pebble Beach where my father chipped onto the green and one-putted the final hole to win his flight in the California Golf Championship for his handicap level. My father was playing with a set of ancient golf clubs he picked up at a local pawn shop. Most people thought my father looked like the twin brother of the famous golfer, Sam Snead, hat and all.
For several days before he won the title, the championship required that my father play rounds of golf on some of the most iconic Monterey Bay area courses. After three days, my father had reduced his field of competitors down to just one last round of golf. What made this experience so unique were two facts. Nine months before he won the state championship my father had never held a golf club in his hands. Also, at the time he won the state championship, my father was 53 years old. My mother jokingly said to my father, “Charlie, why didn’t you discover this talent years ago. We would have been millionaires!”
My father was a contractor. His life had little room for things like golf. We did grow up hunting and fishing, but golf was something other people did who had extra money and time.
One day, a friend of my father asked him to come to a driving range with him and hit a bucket of golf balls. My father went, and after a little instruction, his friend said, “You are a natural!” Without professional lessons, the friend coached my dad how to hit the ball and play a round of golf. All of this was done on a public course. Dad eventually got the hang of the game and obtained a handicap. Through the encouragement of his friend, my father entered a club championship and did really well. The rest is history.
My father was an undiscovered champion who needed championing. His life intersected someone who saw an untapped gift within my father and took the time to draw out that gift and show it to my father and to the world. Had not his friend taken the time to invest in my father, I would not have in my possession a beautiful Sterling silver trophy bearing my father’s name.
Look around at the people in your life the world has overlooked. These are the people who seem out of place socially either up or down the economic scale, or those considered too old or too young to do something or those without an any obvious talent. Your calling is to call out the undiscovered gifts that lay dormant in people and help them see what’s there. We are called to champion the undiscovered champions.
When these abilities are finally brought to light, you will get to experience something beautiful because you will have seen a hidden potential discovered, developed and revealed. That is the blessing given to those who disciple others.