In the movie, Welcome to Mooseport, a former President (Gene Hackman) returns to his hometown and runs for mayor; opposing him is a local handyman (Ray Romano). Here’s an illustration from the film, courtesy of

The Big Idea:
Victory never comes to the lukewarm.

Scene Setup:
Handy (Romano) is by the lake, practicing on a driving range. Cole (Hackman) pulls up with his entourage on his way to vote in the mayoral race where he and Handy are competitors. There he gets a little golf lesson from Handy, and imparts a lesson of his own.

Handy shows Cole how to grip his club properly by using the handshake he employs so frequently. After shanking another ball, Cole turns to Handy and asks why he never asked Sally to marry him. Handy says, “Scared, I guess.” Handy was so afraid of losing the girl, that he never pursued her – essentially guaranteeing the result he expected.

Cole turns to him and says, “Handy, on the 16th hole of our match, you laid up.” Handy admits that he did. Cole continues, “You played it safe.”

Seeking to justify himself, Handy observes, “So? You ended up in the water.”

Cole tries to explain, “I never would have been President of the United States if I’d have laid up.” Cole tees up another ball, concentrates, and rips the ball out beyond the farthest marker. He smiles at his new accomplishment, and then says to Handy, “Sometimes you just gotta go for the green.”

Cole was speaking of Handy’s love for a girl. Handy’s reluctance nearly led to his ruin. He could never truly commit himself to her.

The Scriptures frequently use the metaphor of marriage to explain the relationship of Christ and the Church. In His message to the church at Ephesus, Jesus warns that they have left their “first love” and warns them to recommit themselves. The Laodiceans are warned that their lukewarm attitude will cause them to be spit out of His mouth. God desires our commitment – the kind a bride and groom share. He does not desire people who hedge their bets in their relationship with him, but wants all of us. What holds you back from fully committing your life to Christ?

View more sermon illustrations for inspiration for your next message.

Share This On: