Pastor Larson’s Corner: What’s your handicap?

Pastor Larsons Corner

When I played golf this winter with a friend down in Phoenix, he asked me what my handicap was. I told him it was my inability to hit a golf ball very far or very straight. He then explained to me the handicap system that golfers use to have competitive matches between golfers of varying experience and skill. Since I only play golf a few times a year, a handicap for my game could not be established. However, the rest of the golfers in our group had a very competitive round of golf using the handicap system.

The Gospel reminds me of the handicap system in the game of golf. The Gospel puts everyone on the same level. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Human beings love to make distinctions among themselves. This means that Paul’s words can be hard for us to accept and believe. If we do, however, it can make our life a lot better.

I have been traveling by myself for the past two months and have met people from all over the world. I have always tried to strike up a conversation with them and in the process I have learned a great deal. I have been introduced to cultures very different from my own and I have been able to share things about my own life back in Minnesota. I recently was visiting with an economics professor from southern Mexico who wanted to know all about ice fishing in Minnesota. When he learned that I was a pastor he told me a great deal about the Catholic Church in his area of Mexico. Paul made it clear that we are all one in Christ. If we believe and live that principle out, our lives will be much richer for it.

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at

This article originally appeared in the March 13, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

Norwegian American Logo

The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.