By Rev. Don Rivers
From May to July we have a period of time when we single out certain groups to honor; Mothers, Fathers, Grads, Military and those who declared our independence. Honor is defined as showing great esteem, high respect, doing what is right. Who do we honor with our lives? Choosing to honor God not only in the big things in life, but the little ones has a lasting effect on the lives around us. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We have all seen it, make jokes about it, and say we will never be like that. What am I referring to? Sports parents! I can recall a car owner saying to me, “The kid is great but get that father out of here!” I have observed it first hand at the track. Watching a parent belittle their child in front of the world is not an attractive sight. From quarter midgets to Cup, I have witnessed it all and my heart goes out to the person being torn down. There seems to be no limit when choosing to act in a way that dishonors God.
Yes, when we belittle someone else we dishonor God. Christ reminds us that even when we call someone a fool we dishonor what God holds most valuable, us, our life.
Mathew 5:21-22. NLT,“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
Showing honor to God means respecting what He created, valuing what He values and acting in a way that demonstrates that belief. If you look at our driver’s prayer there is a request for God’s help in the way we respond. We ask that He would help us to respond in a way that honor’s Him. We are quick to let emotions and anger run wild. We say things and act in ways that do not reflect well on us or others. We all need work in this area. Even those of us that seem to have it under control still have those certain situations that challenge us to honor God.
How does this play out in our lives? How does this reveal itself? Respect and honor are choices that we make. While we do not have control over the situations and circumstances that surround us we do have control over how we respond. Responding in a way that honors God is never wrong. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail. The key is to always be working toward remembering that there is a right way to respond then choosing to do so.
I am reminded of Hank Parker Jr.’s, up and coming NASCAR driver, story. It made me ask myself if I make decisions based on what honors God. As I read some of Hanks story it made me think about where I would draw the line. I hope that I could have the faith that he demonstrated when he had a decision to make. It is important the foundation we build our life on. Hank had a promising future in racing but made it clear that he would not drive a car with a certain sponsor on the hood. The sponsor decided to go elsewhere. There were no other sponsors available and Parker was out. While turning down a chance at stardom on the Cup series might have deflated a lesser person, Parker was confident that moving away from racing was God’s plan for his life.
“Seeing how God is in control has been amazing,” Parker said. “There came a point in time in my career where I really just laid down my career and my life, and gave my life to Christ. God has changed so many things and my perspective on things.”
“I’m good … I’m content,” Parker said. “I actually had a phone call the other day to see if I’d come back, and I felt really good about saying no. … It was time to bow out. I feel like I gave it a good shot. I feel like I gave it my best. A lot about racing is timing. Obviously, there’s people that were better than I was, but I feel like I did the best that I could.”
He decision to honor God changed the direction of his life. He chose to let God direct his life instead. I wondered how willing we are to put aside our wants and desires and choose to honor God. When we choose to dishonor others we are refusing to honor God. Remember showing honor is a choice we all have.
A father out for a walk with his son, met and old friend he had not seen for years.
“Fine boy you have,” said the friend. “I hope he grows up to be as good a man as his dad.”
On the surface the compliment should encourage, but the father knew that his son needed to be more than that.
The father answered, “I would be ashamed of him if he does not become a much better man that his dad.”
Therein lies the secret, we need to spur our children on to a greater and deeper respect for God than we have. We need to help them understand the challenges we faced and help them learn from them.
The boy was amazed at his father’s choice of words, he look up to his dad and thought he was the best man on earth. Then he began to realize the lessons he learned from his father. Many were because his father had experienced difficulties, made wrong choices. From those lessons his father showed him the right way to go.
He taught his son how to lead his life, because of the mistakes he made and the lessons he learned. He taught his son that he wasn’t the authority, he too answered to his Father in Heaven. He taught his son that in all things we need to prepare and run in such a way as to win. Each generation can improve on the succeeding one when they are taught to look to God and honor Him.
We should make every effort to honor God in the decisions we make. We should be ready to draw the line when we are asked to compromise our beliefs. We should teach our children that some things are not worth compromising our faith over. Make every effort to honor God in everything you do.
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.