Hebrews 12:28 NASB
Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
This past weekend was one of my favorite events in our year. It is when the world comes to our community through the racing world, and we get to be part of Raceway Ministries work dealing with race fans, sharing our testimonies and serving. It was a good weekend although it brought some challenges our way too.
It takes me back to remember almost 13 years ago when I met Ron Pegram from Motor Racing Outreach. He asked for a person from our ministry to share a Bible study with people who work in the media area. That was a great experience. A year or so later our Raceway Ministry group celebrated the years of our work, and Ron was one of our special guests at that event.
The rest is almost what you would call history. My path kept crossing with Ron’s, and I even got to know his wife, Jackie. Along the way Ron changed jobs moving further in to the racing the world and finally working with a ministry that provides shoes to people in need. Ron Pegram introduced me to Samaritan’s Feet who is one of our greatest ministry partners in our back2school outreach. Ron and Jackie are incredible friends, and I even have the honor to serving on the national Raceway Ministry board with Ron.
Fast forward to this past spring. The Pegrams has since moved to Florida to work with a church, but much of their family was in North Carolina. While fishing at a lake about an hour south of where I live Ron’s son and a friend had some kind of accident while fishing. Both men died and it took several months to find their bodies after they presumably drowned.
This was a horrible event for Ron and Jackie as you can imagine. You might even remember that I shared in the prayer requests of the e-devotion and shared on my Facebook page about this happening. Many, many volunteers helped to search for their son, but they were unable to find him. A month later his body was found.
Fast forward to yesterday. I arrived at the speedway after our worship service at The Community and spent some time with a friend. We went looking for Ron and Jackie Pegram as we knew they had come to the race in Martinsville. We found them sitting about 20 rows up in the front grandstand between the finish line and turn one. But they were not alone. Ron and Jackie brought about 20 people with them to the speedway. These were the people from the fire departments and rescue squads who helped search for their son.
Ron and Jackie said thank you to these great people in a tangible way. They brought them to a race, spent time with them, looked them in the eyes several times through the day saying “thank you”. Jackie told me that these rescue workers said that few people return to say thank you.
As I sat with Ron and Jackie for a few minutes and talked about life and ministry and family I was overcome with the reality of all that was going on. We sat among a crowd of thousands and thousands of people about to watch a loud and fast auto race (Dale Earnhardt Jr won, by the way). This group of people, a sweet family and their rescue workers, enjoy a few hours together, and the presence of friends and their gratitude was so precious.
Do we know how to say “thank you”? Are those just words that roll across our lips without meaning, and do they come from the heart full of honor and sincerity? The Pegrams were not only sincere in their thanks, but they were living out the kindness of our Savior.
That is how to say thank you. Mean what you say, put your heart in to it and connect with people. Remember that Ron and Jackie’s son died. This was a tragic and painful loss to them, but these rescue workers put their lives on hold to search for a precious son. It was fitting as well as kind for them to go out of their way to be grateful to those who had served them.
We need to learn to be thankful and to express to others with deep sincerity our hearts of gratitude.
Colossians 3:15 NLT
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.