Kingdom Lessons from The Saudi Golf League Controversy

If you don’t follow professional golf, you probably haven’t heard. There is a new professional golf tour being backed by the Saudis and the money they are offering the best players in the world to join is staggering. For example, it has been rumored the SGL has offered Bryson DeChambeau $240 million just to show up.

Reportedly, the top 100 professional golfers in the world have already been contacted by the SGL, and it looks like many will jump ship from America’s PGA Tour to join the SGL. What has been most interesting to me and most relevant to this blog is the criticism coming from Americans against those who are thinking of leaving the PGA Tour for the SGL.

The main criticism coming from Americans is that these professional golfers are making the decision to join the SGL purely for the money. “Are the millions they already make not enough?,” people ask. Although I suspect most people raising the criticism do so hypocritically (as most people make their own career choices and job changes based on money), their criticism is based on the money.

One of the fundamentals that applies to work in the kingdom of God is that Christians are called to do their work sincerely. Colossians 3:22. This means Christians should do their jobs primarily for the purpose for which that job exists in the kingdom of God. One should perform the job of a trial lawyer to ensure justice is done on the earth, a doctor to heal, and a pastor to pastor. Getting paid for such work is appropriate (Luke 10:7; I Tim. 5:18), but it is not the purpose for which we work.

The job of a professional golfer is that of an entertainer, which is true of all professional athletes. The job of a professional golfer exists for its spectator value, not to provide a way for people to play golf for a living. So, for professional golfers to make decisions about which tour they play strictly based on the money means they are not doing their job sincerely. And it is the image of God in man, even marred as it may be by the sin of envy, that recognizes this and prompts people to rightly call out these professional golfers for their monied motive.

What the proper motive should be here I do not know. I haven’t thought about it and it is not a decision I have to make. I know if I was a professional golfer though, I would be praying and asking the Lord what was best for the sport as a form of entertainment and the kingdom of God, and what I do know is that that is not decided by simply bowing to the highest bidder. GS

Leave a Reply