Together

By Rev Don Rivers

Freedom is a funny thing, each one of us wants it but we are not sure what it is. We want to be able to do anything we want whenever we want, but we still need something to hold our lives together. What is holding your life together? We need to be together in this? Greetings in the name of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.

Having the freedom to race wherever and whenever we want is the great ideal. The fact of the matter is we need a little help. If we run down the list it starts with a car, we first have to have a car to race and unless you have your own machine and body shop, someone has to make the parts and someone has to build the car.

Many times the driver gets the credit for winning when in fact it probably has a lot to do with the equipment he has to drive. A friend that worked at DEI made an observation after Jr. moved to Hendrick Motorsports, “At least at DEI we could build a car Jr. could win with.” That thought stuck in my head and this past week I was reminded of it.

Ronnie Williams had a career week this past week in an Asphalt Modified, he won $20,000.00 of prize money by winning three races over six days. Three different tracks, two different cars and three different sanctioning bodies. He did it for two different car owners; Gary Cassella and Adam Skowyra & Family. Many times all you read about is the driver and what they accomplished. As Gary reminded me at Seekonk, the driver needs a good car, I guess I build a pretty good car.

I thought about that as I ran through my memory banks. Ryan Preece came to mind. His decision to step out of Mid-pack Xfinity equipment and focus his resources on a five race deal with equipment that had the potential to win made a difference in his career. Some questioned the move but when he posted wins and top five finishes people took notice and doors opened.

If we are looking to be successful in this racing endeavor we need a car capable of running the race and winning. I am sure there are many talented drivers who for one reason or another just haven’t had the right equipment to show what they are capable of. The conclusion is we are in this together. Yes, talent and ability matter in a driver but without a car that is capable of winning the opportunity to visit Victory Lane may never come.

Another component of this togetherness is we need a place to race. We know they won’t let us do it on the street. I know some of us have tried along with everyone else who built a racecar, but the fact is they are not going to let thirty or forty of us go out and race around the block for 100 laps on Saturday night. What does it take for someone to provide a place for us to race? It takes more than we consider sometimes; facility, personnel, insurance, permits, and trained safety workers among so many other intangibles. Providing a venue for a race is no easy task. Sometimes we take it for granted and don’t realize the efforts that nobody sees. This past weekend I helped on the changeover crew at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. So much goes into converting the road course into an oval configuration. It is hard enough to provide one type of racing circuit, but Thompson provides two and switches them back and forth. Many facilities are multi-functional to provide different options for us to race at. We should appreciate a place for racers to race!

We also need rules, who is going to decide what is good and what it bad. In comes the Sanctioning body, someone who assumes responsibility for making the rules, making sure the cars conform and are safe, enforcing the rules, and that the race is run fairly. They are not necessarily appreciated but without them organized racing couldn’t exist.

One case and point happened at New Hampshire Motor Speedway at The Short Track Showdown recently run there. During the Modified Racing Series Feature a driver was in a serious accident. Thankfully his car was safety inspected, his driving equipment was safety inspected confirming that the car and driver were safe to race. I believe his injuries would have been much more serious if his equipment was not up to par.

I am sure I overlooked some things, but as you can see none of us are truly free to race where and when we want. Our ability to race is dependent on someone else providing the opportunity. There needs to be some give and take to continue to make the opportunity to race available for the future. Sometimes we lose sight of what it takes to be able to race. We need to see the big picture and learn how to make it all work. Everything depends on all things being in place. We are in this together.

This also has something to do with life, we are not independent; we are interdependent. Just like we need all the necessary elements to come together to race we need the same things to come together for us to truly live. Christ is like a sanctioning body and covered the risk of living for us. He provided the way for us to have a relationship with God. Listen to what he says in John 14:1-6;

John 14:1-6, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus is the way we get to God. He provides that for us. Without His provision we would not have any hope. We have the freedom to choose His provision. When we do, we receive a special gift, the forgiveness of our sins. He erases the penalty for us making the wrong choice. He covers it.

Jesus said in John 10:10 that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come so that you might have life and have it abundantly.

What that tells us is that if we choose to live our own way and not accept the provision that Christ made for us then we are bound by the one who steals, kills and destroys. The choice is ours.

The forgiveness that Christ offers comes without a performance requirement, it is available to anyone, no matter what they have done. We soon learn though that when we accept Christ’s offer our perspective changes. We find ourselves seeking out different things. We start to see the true meaning of life and how to live it. That is because Christ provides us with additional help in learning to live, The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us to see things correctly. Listen to what Paul said about this Freedom;

1Corinthians 10:23-24, 31-33, “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God– even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Paul helps us to understand that we are free to do anything, but not everything is beneficial to our lives. We need to be motivated to help others before we help ourselves. Basically we are free to do for others and God will take care of us. Our lives are full when we serve others without regard for what is in it for us.

That concept is strange to us, most times we spend our life trying to look out for number one, but we are in this together. We will not be truly free until we change that perspective. We will not experience the freedom that Christ offers until we trust in Him and let the Holy Spirit guide our actions. When that happens we are free, free from paying the price for our mistakes. As Jesus said in John’s Gospel, trust in God, trust also in me.

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.

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