Before the Masters teed off on Thursday, there was a wonderful scene with Augusta National chairman, Billy Payne, placing Arnold Palmer’s Green Jacket on an empty white lawn chair with his widow nearby. Displaying

The Masters won’t be the same without Arnie, but his memory lives on and opportunities to honor him will continue.

ESPN writer, Ian O’Connor, wrote an article with the headline stating: “Pay Tribute to the King by Acting like Arnie.” This article is a letter to the players in the Masters field and the following is a bold challenge to them:

“Get your heads out of your yardage books, and remove those invisible-yet-ultra-conspicuous ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs dangling from your necks as you march from the practice green to the first tee.

“Make as much eye contact as possible with the men, women and children on the other side of the ropes. Smile at them. Nod at them. Give them a thumbs-up.

“And then when your round is over, be sure to spend 20 extra minutes signing autographs than you normally would. Sign as many as Arnie would sign, and you {darn} well better be certain your signature is legible, too.”

That’s quite the standard to live up to, but if more golfers incorporated this selfless approach to those on the other side of the ropes, imagine the positive impact that would make.

In our own lives, do we negatively view people who are less successful than we are while seeing them as being on the “other side of the ropes?” Do we struggle to show respect to those in a lower socio-economic class, and sometimes avoid them all together?

The way Arnold Palmer respected and interacted with those who weren’t on his side of “the ropes” can be our inspiration. Instead of always putting his head down and quickly getting to the “next hole,” he stopped and engaged with them.

I know it’s one thing for a golfer to pay attention to an adoring fan (a middle-aged man in a polo shirt wanting a high five), and yet another story when faced with responding to the needs of someone less fortunate…whose hand is out.

But, do we reach out to help the homeless family…or our brother who lost his job…or the single mom down the street? Or do we just ignore them and walk on by?

The Bible challenges us to reach out in 1 John 3:17-18 (ESV): “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

Proverbs 21:13 (ESV) encourages us not to just walk by: “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.”

Arnold Palmer was considered the King of Golf, and his standard will not be forgotten. However, as followers of Jesus, we respond to an even higher standard when we serve people sacrificially and show them God’s abundant love.

We become more like the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords when we’re willing to go to the “other side of the ropes” – just like He did. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to the other side of the ropes when he came to earth to die for me. I pray I would follow His example in how I care for, respect, and love others. I pray I would be willing to stop more and help those in need. Please empower me with Your love. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.