By Rev Don Rivers
Do you have a tire specialist? I hope so. A tire specialist’s job is to focus on where the rubber hits the road. They give us the information to make the proper adjustments to finish in victory. How about our life? Do we have a “tire specialist” to guide our walk? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
One of the most common sights in the garage area is the constant attention to the tires. This is done because that is where the horsepower, through torque, is transferred to the track. The tires reveal to us what is happening when we are out on the track. They reveal how we can improve the car’s performance on the track.
At times, when we see blisters or wear, we blame the tire; the compound is too soft or too hard. Maybe the tires are from a bad batch or they weren’t cured right. It isn’t always the tire. The problem may be deeper than just where the rubber hits the road.
Tire problems indicate deeper issues. What we see on the surface isn’t a problem with the tire; it is an indication that what the tire is attached to needs to be adjusted. Maybe the stagger is wrong, perhaps it is the shock setup or maybe the spring rate. The driver could just be driving too hard. Tire problems usually indicate the race car they are connected to is not stable. If the tire isn’t connected to the right setup it will show in the way the tire heats up and wears. How we respond to those indications determines how well we will run the race.
Let’s look at the closing passage of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” found in Matthew’s Gospel.
Matthew 7:24-27, NIV; “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Therefore is an interesting word, it means; because of what was said make these adjustments to your life. Think of our tires again, when we see certain indications, we make certain adjustments to our car. Jesus says, “Therefore make the following adjustments.”
Let’s take a look at the similarities of each man mentioned in this passage. First thing we notice is that they both sought to attain the same goal, build a house. This is not unlike our desire when we come to the track. We all want to win. As each of us know, having a goal and getting there can be two different things. How do we go about accomplishing our goal? Is there one way that is best? Where do we find the answer?
That leads us to the second thing these men had in common, they both went to the same seminar. We need information to accomplish our goals. Rarely does someone accomplish something by accident. The usual method is threefold; establish a goal, learn what you need to know to accomplish it and then do it.
Each one set out to build a home, a legacy, if you will. Each one heard the words of Jesus. They had the right information to use. Each one had an equal opportunity to succeed. Like using the setup notes we have for a certain track. If we use that information we have a head start on getting our car setup in a way that will enable us to win.
Thirdly we find that they both experienced the same challenge. There was a storm. It was the same storm for both of them. There was no difference between what took place in each of their lives. When we come to the track, we all are faced with the same challenge, set up the car so that you are able to win. The track conditions are the same for everyone. The distance is the same for everyone. The practice time is the same for everyone. The rules that dictate what equipment can be used are the same.
All things being equal, what separates the winner from everyone else? The team who makes the right adjustments based on the information they have. We all have choices to make in life. Each choice comes with its own set of consequences. How we choose and how we respond reveals who is in control of our lives. Do we make the proper choices based on what we have learned? Jesus contrasted the two men for us, the wise one applied what he heard and the foolish one didn’t. We can all have victory if we follow Christ.
It is very rare that the winner of the race had the wrong setup. Having the wrong setup usually plays itself out during the race. Most times we see it all too clear; Tire fails and you are introduced to the wall. Other times it shows up in lack of performance; we just can’t get up to speed. How our car is set up determines how we run the race. It determines if we are running in such a way as to win. Our set up decides whether we succeed or fail.
We had an incident at work one day that helps illustrate the choices we make and their consequences. We had just poured some fresh concrete and there was a little pile on the ground. A salesman was visiting and instead of bypassing it he decided to see if it was wet. He stepped in it with all he had. It was wet and now his dress shoe was covered with wet cement. Was it worth a ruined pair of shoes to see if the concrete was wet? We need to stop and examine the consequences of the decisions we make before we follow through on them. We need to take time to fully understand the choices we make in life. It is not necessary to learn everything the hard way.
One man applied what he had heard and when the storm came he was able to withstand it. The other ignored what he had heard, the storm came and his life came crashing down with a great fall. Where and how we finish is dependent on the decisions we make. It matters whose advice we follow. In life, much like in a race, if we have the right setup we will be able to finish in victory.
Look at the starting lineup, can you tell who has the best race car? They are all nice and polished. They all have four wheels and a motor. They all have a talented driver. Can we tell which one will win? No, we can’t, we have to run the race. Then and only then will we see who made the right decisions. We not only need to run the race; we need to finish. No one ever won a race that they didn’t finish. As Yogi would say, 90% of the cars that don’t finish don’t win.
What can we take with us from this passage? Jesus said listen to my words and follow them. If you do this you will be able to withstand even the fiercest storm. If you listen to my words and do not make changes to your life, when difficult times come you will not have the foundation you need to withstand the storm and your life will come crashing down.
Jesus asked the question of His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Our answer to that question will indicate whose directions we are following. I encourage us to listen and apply the teachings of Jesus. He will enable us to have a strong foundation that is able to withstand any storm.
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.