GREAT people are just ordinary people with an extraordinary amount of determination.                           -Anonymous

It was the last round of the Master’s golf tournament. I stood pressed in the crowd around the 15th green. Suddenly five thousand heads turned in the same direction. Television cameras rolled. Jack Nicklaus was striding down the fairway. “When God handed out golf talent, that man got an extra helping,” said a man behind me. How true, I thought, with a twinge of envy.

Jack Nicklaus was only a few shots off the lead and was making a charge. This hole was crucial. Up in the fairway he planted his feet over the ball. There was only one way to the 15th green: over a pond of sparkling water. Nicklaus swung. The ball soared up, up, and suddenly it was falling right for the pond. Blip! It disappeared into the water, right near the edge.

The gallery groaned. Nicklaus marched over and looked down where the little white ball was stuck in the mud under half a foot of water. He untied his shoes, pulled off his socks. Then he rolled up his trousers and waded into the pond. The air was electric. Jack Nicklaus slashed his club into the water. Then I saw the ball hurtling out of the water straight for the pin. It touched down close to the hole. Nicklaus not only saved par, he made a birdie.

Was it his “extra helping” of talent that did it? Maybe. But it seemed to me the feat I’d just seen was borne more out of sheer, gritty determination than anything else.

God measured out to me my own share of talent. Perhaps what I need is not an extra portion of it, but some gritty determination to make it soar.

Father help me to roll up my sleeves and go to work making the most of the talent You gave me.

-Sue Monk Kidd


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