It is that time again. Pray for our team serving at Martinsville Speedway as thousands of people come to town, and we get to talk with them about Jesus and to meet needs along the way. The following is a devotion that I shared several years ago.
Twice a year the world comes to our city through the world of NASCAR racing, and it is an honor to be part of this event through Raceway Ministries. Almost 100 volunteers from several churches come together to serve race fans and have conversations about Jesus.
43 drivers start the race, but only one will win. Does that mean that 42 of them lost? It is true. But you have to answer that for yourself. I have some thoughts for you as the race traffic heads toward Martinsville, Virginia.
Hebrews 12:1 nlt
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
Martinsville and Henry County grows by about double the people race weekend. Not sure about the exact numbers, but I am sure that each one wants their driver to win. It really is the presence of these two weekends that boosts our economy in big ways.
It is tough competition. Fans wear their driver's number with pride, put it on their car or tent, on their clothes or even spelled out in tattoos and the like. This can be a strange world. The fans are committed, passionate and watching. It really is kind of like that great cloud of witnesses from Hebrews 12:1.
They love a good race. So do I. Close finishes are amazing with all the race happenings and wrecks. That is another reason why short track racing, I believe, is the best racing. Doesn't help much when you see the enemy (or the driver you don't like leading) out in front for too many of the laps being run.
Are the 42 drivers who didn't win losers? I don't think so. Some people say they are not because of who they are but because of how they finished, behind the winner of this race, whoever it may be on Sunday. Yet I think all of them are winners. It takes endurance to keep on and to even get in the race.
If in life we have an attitude or think that only one person could win or only a few people could win, I would be so depressed (and many people are every day). God tells us what winners do. Think about it:
Winners get in the race:
Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.
Winners stay in the race:
So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.
Winners know that God is the only real official in the race:
Hebrews 11:6 nlt
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Winners enjoy each part of the race:
John 10:10 nlt
The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Last, winners finish the race well:
2 Timothy 4:7 nlt
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
Whether you win or come in dead last in whatever race you enter, remember that life is all about God. He has called us to enjoy life, to live it to the fullest and to know and crave His purpose each day. That means we have to get in the race (know and love God), stay in the race (even when it is tough), glorify God (even when that is not the most popular thing to do), enjoy life and finish well.
1 John 4:4 nlt
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.