HOMESTRETCH

By Rev Don Rivers

As the season winds down and we come to the traditional end of summer, Labor Day Weekend, School begins, there is a fall crispness to nights; the seasons are changing.  How has your season gone? Have you been able to appreciate all the Lord has blessed you with? I encourage you to take a few moments and rejoice in the victories and challenges that have come your way. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I find myself looking back. Taking stock of all the Lord has done for me in the blur of time that makes up the heart of the racing schedule. This past week has seen me travel to Bristol, TN, then to Florida to visit my daughter and back to St. Louis for a race at Wide World Technology Raceway at Gateway. It has been a whirlwind journey. I’m looking forward to being home for a few days.

As I was leaving Gateway this past weekend there was a visual reminder of the milestones we achieve during the season. Lord Stanley’s Cup in the back a side by side with the St. Louis Blues hanging on as it proceeded through the crowd. St. Louis had won their first Cup this year and they are still celebrating! So hard earned they refuse to let the celebration fade.

As the local racing scene enters its final few weeks of competition it is important to take the time and look back and celebrate what has been accomplished. Don’t lose sight of the little things. Maybe this was the year you finally made it over the hump and started to get a handle on your race setup. It might have been the year you made it to victory lane for the first time.

There are many milestones we achieve but we can get too caught up in the season to stop and think about them. Many times the milestones are only significant to us and other fail to see them. When compared to the measuring stick that other’s use they seem insignificant, but they are not. Don’t minimize the how much you have grown this year.

I think some of our greatest moments are when we acknowledge the significance of the small steps we take in life. Think about the little things that you have done this year. The things you have done that have enabled you to grow and advance, not only on the track but in your walk with Christ. Maybe this was the year you started reading your Bible every week or even every day. Maybe this was the year you made an effort to attend chapel service or attend a local church. Maybe it was the year that you made the effort to talk with God on a regular basis.

Don’t make light of the things in your life that are truly significant. We all are guilty of not placing the right importance on seemingly little things, but it is the little things that add up to make significant changes in the direction of our lives. I am reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy;

2 Timothy 4:1-8 (New Living Translation); I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

These were not only the words Paul wrote to encourage Timothy they were the same words one of my mentors shared with me as I entered into ministry.

T. Marshal Thompson was a wise man who had seen many things in his life. He helped me overcome the desire to please men instead of pleasing God. He encouraged me to be a little bolder in faith. He listened to my fears and helped me overcome them. Little things that helped me become a man dedicated to serve Jesus.

T. Marshal is home now, but his memory is as alive as if he were still here. He helped me focus on the little things that when you add them up they become significant things in life. He guided me through my doubt and showed me the hand of God on my life.

As we reflect on the things that we have seen and done this past season I ask you to think about those who have helped guide you. Those who have encouraged you to make decisions that were beneficial to your life. Those who provided the resources you needed to continue on.

It is easy to continue on without remembering where you come from or who helped you get to where you are, but I suggest it is more beneficial to reminisce a little. Take a look at the steps you’ve taken, the miles you have driven. Remember who was holding your hand and had your back as you took those steps.

With another season winding down there is more races to be run. Without the help of many others we wouldn’t make it to this time of the year and still be able to race. To enter the homestretch each one of us needed the support and encouragement of someone. Encouragement to take the little steps that add up to a giant leap. We all need someone to walk by our side. Take time to say thanks and acknowledge what others have given so that you could pursue your dreams.

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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