Anyone familiar with the game of golf is also familiar with a term learned early and used often, especially by new (or “not so good”) players. It’s the word “Mulligan.”
While there are several explanations for the origin of this phrase and its connection to golf, it’s used when a golfer makes a bad shot and wants a chance to do better. Taking a “Mulligan” means that you get a “do-over.” You get to take another shot. The hope is that your “Mulligan” shot will put you in a better position than your first shot did. It’s a “grace” shot!
One of the incredible, amazing things about God is His grace. He graciously gives us opportunities to improve our relationship with Him and with others after a mess up. He gives us another chance.
Jesus told a story that emphasized the grace and patience of God and His willingness to give people another chance. Take a look at the story:
Luke 13:6-8 (NLT) Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’ ”
Here we see the “chance” given to a fruitless fig tree. Grace was given to the tree in hopes that improvement and productivity would be the result. We might say that the fig tree was given a “Mulligan.”
This isn’t just a nice story about grace. It’s certainly that, but it’s much more than that. It reminds us of the responsibility that comes when grace is given. The real principle of this parable is this: A “do-over” is given so that, by God’s grace and the lessons we have learned from our mistakes, we might “do-better!” “Do-overs” should lead us to “do-betters!”
When God graciously gives you a “do-over,” learn from your mistakes, and with God’s help, “do-better!”