Spring is in the air and to me, that means blooming flowers everywhere, crisp green leaves bursting from tree branches and the fresh aroma of high octane racing fuel. Yep! Another Nascar season is among us and I’m ready for it.
I grew up surrounded by the sounds and smells of auto racing. My father built and raced drag and stock cars until I left home to join the military at 17 years old. He did everything he could to get me to drive stock cars or race bikes, but I was determined to fly fighter jets. Though I know he was still proud the day he dropped me off at the airport, I could sense a certain level of disappointment. My dad wanted me to follow in his footsteps. But I wanted nothing to do with racing.
Of course that’s all changed now. Turns out I am now a huge Nascar fan. I love the thundering roar put out by 40+ equally matched stock cars driving at 200 miles per hour. I just can’t describe how thrilling it is to watch stock cars drive around a tri-oval, banked race track to the cheers of 300,000 screaming fans. As a Christian, I am humbled by the fact each race starts with a prayer. Yes, all 300,000 fans, drivers, race teams, media and officials all stand as one before God praising the Lord and asking for His blessings. That’s Nascar.
I was at Daytona last Saturday for one of the many races held during race week at the Daytona International Speedway. My friend Stephan and I watched the Busch Series race during which many cars crashed, a few of them made it back on the track seemingly not running full throttle but back in the race never the less. Some cars wrecked beyond repair were forced to park their cars in the garage and didn’t come back out.
There’s my correlation to the Christian faith, the ultimate race toward the checkered flag that is eternal life in heaven. The reality of the race for Christ is that it’s an eternally rewarding dangerous journey. The race for Christ is rarely without crashes often requiring tweaking or adjustments.
Stock car racing is more than fast cars and macho drivers. It involves pit crews and crew chiefs that are in constant communication with each driver. Because stock cars are so evenly matched hence the term “stock”, minor suspension or tire pressure adjustments can make a world of difference. This tweaking is performed during refueling pit stops when pit crews change all four tires, add 40 gallons of fuel and adjust each car according to the track and weather conditions. All this in less than 15 seconds.
It is safe to assume along our race for Christ, we will need pit stops. We will need adjustments to enhance our purpose driven performance or prevent a crash. How does a car crash compare to a Christian crash? Giving in to sin is very much like a Nascar crash that often involves more than one car. One driver makes a mistake and takes out three other cars with him. What’s unfair is that the driver who caused the crash may not have gotten the worse of it and potentially can get back in the race while other drivers totaled their cars and were forced out of the race.
When we sin, we create a reaction either on earth or in heaven. Sin is always punished and always produces a ripple in God’s perfect plan for our lives. One of the worse elements of sin is its domino effect. To avoid sin is to fulfill our mission and to ensure a safe spiritual passage from this life onto the next.
But how does one avoid sin, after all are we not all human beings born in sin and equipped with a sinful nature? Yes we are. But we are also God’s children. We are blessed with endless tools to keep us on the track rather then in the garage. Our pit crews are our spouses, friends, small groups and other people we meet as we serve at church. Our crew chiefs are church leaders. Our cars are our bodies, our souls. Our instruction manual is the holy word of God, the bible.
The finish line represents the fulfillment of your mission. Without faith and purpose driven works you are certain to crash and you may not recover. I invite you to strengthen yourself for the race by reading the following verses:
“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:11-12)
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3-11)
“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.” (2 Peter 3:14-15)
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:1-4)
We are all blessed with faith and called to fulfill our mission. We are all on a race subject to adjustments or crashes that produce opportunities for others to fulfill their missions through faith. Let’s be certain to keep focused on God living according to His ways so we can in deed be guaranteed to cross the finish line.
The greatest difference between Nascar and the race for Christ is that we can all win!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives
For your unconditional love and your forgiveness,
We thank you lord for your guidance
And for leading our footsteps through your word the Bible.
Lord we pray you will continue to look after us
After our families, our friends and all those in need,
And that you will inspire non believers
To join your family and receive eternal life in Heaven.
Father bless us as we charge through the race
Avoiding crashes set by the unholy,
Strengthen us so that we may witness,
Minister and rejoice with you and for you.
God we love you and thank you for all that surrounds us!
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre